State Championships Returns to Final Eight for First Time Since 2009

State Championships Returns to Final Eight for First Time Since 2009

Walnut, CA - The 2018 California Community College Athletic Association State Softball Championships kicks off on Thursday morning at Mt. San Antonio College in Southern California. The state championship tournament, which pit the best two teams from each region each of the last eight seasons, has returned to a eight-team tournament for the first time since 2009. The top four teams from Southern California, will be going toe-to-toe with the top four teams from Northern California to determine this year's State Champion. 

2018 CCCAA State Softball Championships Bracket

About the Teams

Palomar College (38-3) - SoCal No. 1

Head Coach: Lacey Craft (8th Season)

State Championship Appearances: 16 

State Championships: 5 (2015, 2013, 2000, 1993, 1989)

The Comets are back in familiar territory having made the third-most state championship tournament appearances in CCCAA history. Palomar last made the CCCAA State Championships back in 2015, which was also the last time the Comets won a CCCAA title. The 2018 Palomar squad is entered the 2018 post-season as the No. 1 overall seed in Southern California, after winning the 2018 Pacific Coast Conference Championship. The Comets come into this weekend with the longest winning streak in the State at 20 games. That includes four play-off victories, two against conference rival Imperial Valley College in the opening round and a pair of victories over No. 10 seeded Antelope Valley College in the second regional round. 

Palomar is led by the 2018 California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association (3CFCA) Pitcher and Player of the Year in sophomore hurler Alicia Garcia and freshman outfielder Sarah Fisher. Fisher had an explosive freshman campaign hitting a CCCAA regular season leading .569 (and is currently hitting .590) on the year. Fisher has scored 64 runs, drove in 71 runs, hitting 15 home runs, and posted a 1.056 slugging percentage. Her teammate, Garcia was equally impressive in the circle, finishing the regular season with the lowest ERA in the State of those pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched. Garcia posted a minuscule 0.86 ERAand is a perfect 25-0 on the season. In 129.2 innings worth of work, Garcia fanned 166 batters. In addition to those two, the Comets had three All-State Selections; Crystal DesLauriers (1.78 ERA; .434 AVG), Allie Hughen (.407 AVG, 32 RBIs), and Keyona Villanueva (.500 AVG, 16 SB's). They also had one All-SoCal selection in Brynn Miller (.422 AVG, 26 runs).

 

College of San Mateo (39-4) - NorCal No. 1

Head Coach: Nicole Borg (12th Season)

State Championship Appearances: 12 

State Championships: 0

Head Coach Nicole Borg brings her Bulldog squad into the state championships sixth straight season, the longest current streak in the State. College of San Mateo won yet another Coast Conference South Division Championship in 2018, and were once again the top seed in Northern California. The Bulldogs head into this weekend's state championships with the second longest current winning streak in the state at 18 games. That includes two pairs of victories over No. 16 Solano College and No. 15 Sacramento City College in the Northern California Regional Playoffs. 

San Mateo is home to the reigning 3CFCA NorCal Player of the Year in sophomore left fielder Allie Stines. Stines was an All-Tournament selection at last years CCCAA Softball State Championships. In 2018, Stines hit .460 with 49 runs scored and 32 RBIs. Joining Stines on the 3CFCA post-season lists were sophomore catcher Mackenzie Driscoll and sophomore pitcher Lauren Quirke who were both All-State nominees. Driscoll hit .394 and led the team with 54 RBIs, while Quirke was 15-1 in the circle with a 1.70 ERA, while hitting a team leading .477 with a team best 17 doubles. Freshman second baseman Aubrie Businger (.438 AVG, 31 runsc) and sophomore right fielder Gabrielle Zucchiatti (.393 AVG, 41 RBIs) were All-NorCal winners. Zuchiatti was also an All-Tournament selection at last year's state championships. 

 

Mt. San Antonio College (37-7) - SoCal No. 2

Head Coach: Rubilena Rojas (6th Season)

State Championship Appearances: 12 

State Championships: 4 (2009, 2007, 2005, 2003)

The runner-up in last year's CCCAA State Championships, the Mounties will be looking for some revenge in 2018. Mt. San Antonio won the South Coast Conference North Division title and was seeded No. 2 in the Southern California post-season. The Mounties opened up playoff play with a pair of wins over No. 15 Fullerton College, before getting past No. 8 College of the Canyons (5-4 and 8-0) in the second round to get back to the CCCAA State Championships for the second straight year. Oddly enough, the Mounties last title came the last time this very same tournament was in this eight-team format, back in 2009. 

Mt. SAC was paced by a pair of All-State players in sophomore short stop Carissa Felix and freshman pitcher Briana Wheeler. Felix, who was the starting third baseman for Mt. SAC during last year's post-season run, led the team offensively in 2018, hitting .420 with 39 runs scored and 27 RBIs. Wheeler meanwhile enters this weekend 24-5 in circle with a 1.95 ERA and 216 strikeouts to her name. Sophomore Michelle Banales was an All-SoCal selection after hitting .367, and tying for the team lead with six home runs. 

 

Sierra College (37-7) - NorCal No. 2

Head Coach: Darci Brownell (19th Season)

State Championship Appearances: 7 

State Championships: 1 (2014)

Recently named the 3CFCA State Coach of the Year, skipper Darci Brownell is back in the state championships for the first time since the Wolverines won the 2014 title, becoming the first Northern California team to win a CCCAA title since Sacramento City college won in 2004. The Wolverines claimed the 2018 Big 8 Conference Championship and were seeded No. 3 in NorCal. Sierra opened up the playoffs with two wins over No. 14 West Valley College, before beating No. 13 College of the Sequoias 9-1 and 2-1 to get back to the last eight.

The Wolverines boast three All-State Players (McKenna Anderson, Amaryssa Medina, and Toni Whipkey) and one All-NorCal Selection (Emily Smith). Anderson hit a robust .423 for Sierra, scoring 38 runs and stealing 28 bases. Medina did as much damage with her arm as she did her bat, posting a 25-3 mark in the circle with a 1.28 ERA, while hitting .421 with 22 RBIs. Whipkey hit .384 and led the team in slugging (.657). Whipkey drove in 33 runs and hit a team best 10 doubles. Smith did her part hitting .387 with 22 RBIs and 20 runs scored. 

 

Cypress College (37-7) - SoCal No. 3

Head Coach: Brad Pickler (30th Season)

State Championship Appearances: 26 

State Championships: 9 (2017, 2012, 2011, 2010, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1991)

Cypress College heads into this weekend as the defending State Champions after becoming the first program in CCCAA history to complete a perfect season finishing 48-0 last year. While the 2018 squad hasn't been perfect, they've still been very good as evidenced by their Orange Empire Conference Championship and their No. 3 overall seed in SoCal. Cypress opened up the playoffs with a pair of wins over No. 14 Southwestern College before advancing to this weekend with two wins over No. 6 Bakersfield College last weekend. 

The Chargers boast three 3CFCA All-State selections on this year's team in sophomore pitcher Hope Davalos, freshman designated player Infinity Laufou, and sophomore short stop Sydney McCollum. Davalos has gone 24-6 in the circle this season, with a 2.60 ERA. Laufou has caused a lot of damage with her bat, hitting .471 with a team leading 53 RBIs and 19 doubles. Rounding out the trio is McCollum, who was an All-Tournament selection and the Gold Glove winner at last year's State Championship. McCollum flourished in her second collegiate season, hitting .450 with a team leading .779 slugging percentage. McCollum drove in 38 runs, scored a team best 57, and hit 17 doubles, seven triples, and six home runs. 

 

Ohlone College (34-12) - NorCal No. 3

Head Coach: Julie Marshall (2nd Season)

State Championship Appearances: 5 

State Championships: 0

In just her second season in charge of the program, Head Coach Julie Marshall has the Renegades back in the state championships for the first time since 2009. Ohlone has knocked on the door a number of times, but finally broke through this past season. The Renegades were the runners-up in the Coast Conference North Division, finishing in second behind San Mateo. Ohlone was seeded No. 5 in the Northern California Regional Playoffs, and took two-out-of-three from a tough No. 12 seeded Diablo Valley College in the opening round. In the second round, Ohlone dropped the first game of the weekend to No. 11 Reedley College, before rallying with 7-0 and 5-3 wins over the Tigers. 

For the Renegades, freshman pitcher Ana Beard was named a 3CFCA All-State selection. Beard comes into this weekend with a 13-6 record with a 1.12 ERA. Sophomore center fielder Meida Tautalatasi was an All-NorCal honoree after leading the Ohlone offense with a .449 average, 43 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases. 

 

El Camino College (35-10) - SoCal No. 4

Head Coach: Jessica Rapoza (4th Season)

State Championship Appearances: 0

State Championships: 0

The new kids on the block this weekend, the Warriors out of El Camino College are making their first ever CCCAA State Softball Championship appearance. In her fourth season in charge of the Warriors, Head Coach Jessica Rapoza completed the turnaround of the program by taking El Camino to the South Coast Conference South Division championship and the No. 4 seed in Southern California. El Camino started it's post-season bid with a pair of victories over No. 12 Santa Ana College, before winning two-out-of-three with No. 5 Santiago Canyon College (0-3, 5-0, and 10-6) last Saturday to advance to their first ever state championship berth. 

Freshman Diamond Lewis leads the Warriors offensively and was named a 3CFCA All-State selection. Lewis hit .475 on the season, with 39 RBIs and 49 runs scored. Lewis led a team that likes to be aggressive on the base paths, swiping 31 bags so far this year. El Camino as a team has stolen a state best 213 bases this season. That's 58 more than the next closest program. In the circle, freshmen Maisie Weishoff (14-7) and Clarissa Chiquete (18-3) have split time. Weishoff has posted a 2.76 ERA, while Chiquete has a 2.47 ERA. 

 

San Joaquin Delta College (28-16) - NorCal No. 4

Head Coach: Jim Fisher (10th Season)

State Championship Appearances: 13 

State Championships: 0

The Mustangs return to the CCCAA State Softball Championships for the second straight season, and third time in Head Coach Jim Fisher's 10 seasons. San Joaquin Delta was the runner-up in the Big 8 Conference, finishing behind Sierra College. The Mustangs were originally seeded #7 in the Northern California Regional Playoffs, sweeping No. 13 Fresno City College in the opening round. They followed that up by outlasting No. 8 San Jose City College in the next round, dropping the first game 0-1, before responding with 5-3 and 9-4 wins over the Jaguars. 

Sophomore Taylor Ward was an 3CFCA All-State selection for Delta in 2018. Ward hit .406 with a .775 slugging percentage, hitting seven doubles, 10 triples, and eight home runs. Ward drove in 37 RBIs and scored 35 runs. Freshman Marissa Espinoza has been responsible for the lion's share of work in the circle this year. with a 20-13 record and 2.90 ERA.