Five Monache and Porterville High School softball players were awarded with All-East Yosemite League first and second team honors for their exceptional play this season.
The Marauders (10-13, 7-3 EYL) had three selections with sophomore center fielder Kailyn Castle and senior shortstop Evette Mendoza making the first team while sophomore third baseman Jaleen Villareal made the second team.
In the leadoff spot, Castle led the league in batting average (.686), on-base percentage (.761) and slugging percentage (.943)). She also had 10 RBIs and was second in the EYL with 20 runs scored. Castle also had three doubles, three triples, drew 11 walks and never struck out.
The two-year varsity starter was solid in the outfield with no errors and also pitched for the team.
“Quite frankly she really, really, really was an [important] part of our team this year,” MHS head coach Dave Koontz said. “Defensively, she played a stud center field and then she volunteered to pitch. Offensively she was our leadoff hitter all year long and produced. I think her batting average was .600 and her on-base was .650 so you can’t ask much more from a leadoff hitter in league. Just an [important] part of every facet of our team.”
Offensively, Mendoza hit .579 in the No. 3 spot and was second in the league with a team-high 18 RBIs, as well as slugging (.842). She had an OBP of .628, six doubles, two triples and 11 runs scored.
“One of the hardest working, most-dedicated players I’ve ever had the pleasure to coach,” Koontz said about Mendoza. “She was a four-year varsity player and deserved every, every bit of the claim she could get. She batted our No. 3. She was second baseman for three years then when I asked her to move over to shortstop, she didn’t hesitate. She’s a team player all the way and she never stopped working at getting better at her position.”
He added, “She’ll play second base probably at the next level but I couldn’t ask for a harder working, more dedicated player than what she’s been over the last four years.”
Villareal, nicknamed The Beast by Koontz, was another top hitter for Monache. Hitting .500 in league, Villareal was second on the team in OBP (.643) had 15 runs scored, seven RBIs and three doubles. She was also dealt a league-high 12 walks.
“She never stops working,” Koontz said. “She’s one of the hardest working kids I could ask for. She’s always trying to get better. And as the season wore on, I gave her that nickname of ‘The Beast’ for a reason. She really started to take control at third base and she really started to take control of the bat. She moved up to No. 4 in the lineup and earned every bit of it. She’s going to be a beast alright over the next two years.”
The Marauders honorable mentions are junior left fielder Kiyah Ramirez and senior catcher Priscilla Vargas.
Monache finished third in the EYL and was the No. 9 seed in the CIF Central Section Division II playoffs. The team lost 3-1 to No. 8 Sanger (14-16) in an opening round game.
Porterville (5-15, 1-9 EYL)
From Porterville, senior catcher Desiree Medrano was an All-EYL first team selection while junior utility player Cloey Loflin made the second team. Both players were also team captains.
Medrano hit .406 with an OBP of .472. She also had a team-high nine runs scored as well as two RBIs. The four-year varsity player was a team player and “phenomenal” catcher for the Panthers who also spent time in the outfield, according to PHS head coach Jennifer Schoonover.
“Desiree is just a phenomenal leader and confident person on the field,” Schoonover said. “There was a huge difference in her play from junior year to senior year. I only got to coach her two years and I was super proud of the way she really stepped up and took that leadership role this year, being one of only two seniors, and led us in three out of the five categories this year.
“Just a great kid, great attitude and huge desire to win,” Schoonover said. “I absolutely loved having her for two years. Huge, huge shoes to fill behind the plate as catcher.”
Loflin hit .379 with a .438 OBP, three doubles and six runs scored. Schoonover said Loflin was a key player when the team was missing several players who were still playing basketball. Loflin played first base, shortstop and in the outfield for Porterville.
“She did great this year,” Schoonover said. “Another one I could put at whatever position … One of our top three hitters — she was last year, she is this year. I have one more year with her and I’m so excited about it. Great personality, great attitude. Super excited to see her come out and really explode her senior year and work over the summer. Again with her, she’s just a great kid and I’m lucky enough to have her for three years.”
Also for the Panthers, freshman Madison Johnson was the team’s honorable mention. A three-sport athlete, Johnson got started softball late but was another one of the team’s top players after quickly catching up and getting better every day according to Schoonover. She hit a team-best .464 with and OBP of .483, three doubles, a triple and six runs scored She also had a team-high 11 RBIs. Johnson also pitched for the team and had a 6.18 ERA and 10 strikeouts in league.
“[Madison] is just an athlete, she is so awesome,” Schoonover said. “She led in two of our five categories. She led our team, in league, in hitting. I want to say towards the end of the season every game she was either hitting it off the fence or hitting a double.
“She had great power, great connection,” Schoonover said. “Just that hand-eye coordination and she moved her way up from the bottom of the lineup and definitely made her spot very aware at the top of the lineup. And then we knew if she was on she was scoring because of her speed.”
Schoonover also added that she looks forward to coaching Johnson for the next three years as well.
All stats obtained from MaxPreps.com and pertain to EYL play unless otherwise stated.