By Nicholas Orozco, Sports Editor
Valley College softball dropped its final game of the season Tuesday against LA Mission, 11-3, but the score and the team’s record does not tell the entire story.
The Monarchs would finish with a record of 3-31, a shade worse than last year’s squad. With this past season being Andrea Contreras’ first year as head coach, she still looks to make changes to better the team.
After spending much time with the team, there are clear signs of improvement. Contreras called on assistant coaches Natalie Winokur and Leslie Arreola to help the team.
The three would transform these women who have either not played softball in years or are still learning the sport, into solid contributors.
Prior to their loss to Mission, the Monarchs faced Ventura, Glendale and Antelope Valley. Two of which are within the top 20 in the state. As of April 19, Ventura (8-21-1) is ranked 13 in the state and the Monarchs held them to two runs, but dropped the game 2-1. On the year, Ventura is ranked 16 in the total runs scored over 37 games with 223.
Valley would be consistently mercy-ruled over the season. The game against Ventura would be the first game in eight games where they would have a fighting chance to win.
Antelope Valley (29-7-1) is ranked 17 as of April 19 as well. They were ranked first in the state in home runs, cranking 39 out of the park. Valley held them to two runs on April 20.
It is clear that Contreras has a vision for this team and the team is receptive.
Last season the top hitters were Elizabeth Flores with a .338 average and Tea Carbajal who posted a .315 percentage over 30 games. This season, Briana Gaskill and Melissa Orozco were the top two hitters putting up .356 and .297 averages during their 33-game season.
Both Flores and Carbajal both had fewer at-bats than Gaskill and Orozco. The two alumni combined for 138 hits, while this year the top two collected 161 hits, a marked improvement. With more at-bats also came along more hits, Flores and Carbajal combined for 45 hits. Gaskill and Orozco combined for 53.
Three Monarchs would hit three home runs over the course of the season. Sophomore Violeta Espinoza would hit two, freshman Cristina Camberos hit one and Gaskill would hit three. While last season only one girl would hit a home run, Caitlyn Pineda.
Selena Gonzalez also has the power for the long ball as during batting practice she can hit home runs consistently.
Now able to recruit and build her team, Contreras looks to build on next season.