Premier Teams Hope to Show They're for Real

Here's a look at how teams shape up heading into the high school softball league races:


Defending league champion Dos Pueblos has seven starters returning from a team that went undefeated through league play. The Chargers (2-5) are off to a rough start, but are sure to rebound with ace Marie Gensler, who was 14-0 in league play last season. . . . Dos Pueblos, a Division IV quarterfinalist last season, will again be challenged by Rio Mesa and Buena. . . . Rio Mesa has seven starters returning from an 18-7 squad, though the Spartans are once again short on pitching. But the Spartans have plenty of sluggers to make it interesting, including Jessica Brown (.381), Rhianna Rogers (.365) and Kiara Cochran (.329). . . . Buena first baseman Kris Herman, perhaps the best hitter in the league, had 42 hits, including 18 for extra bases, in 27 games last season, batting .488 with 26 RBIs. . . . Oxnard, Hueneme and Ventura lack experience and will find it tough to break into the league's top three.




1. Dos Pueblos

2. Buena

3. Rio Mesa

4. Oxnard

5. Hueneme

6. Santa Barbara

7. Ventura

8. San Marcos


Malibu, Moorpark and Calabasas should slug it out until the final game to determine the league champion. . . . Calabasas catcher Sara Hall made a great first impression on opposing coaches last year as a freshman. She was selected the league's most valuable player despite Calabasas' third-place finish. Hall, who batted .435 and threw out 19 of 23 runners on attempted steals, is one of six returnees. Senior center fielder Kelly Cheever (.344) provides the Coyotes with experience. . . . Moorpark third baseman Meaghan Finnerty, who batted .418 with 18 RBIs and 21 stolen bases, was chosen co-outstanding defensive player of the year among Ventura County small schools. . . . First-year Santa Clara co-coaches Mary and Barry Mullen inherit an inexperienced team that has only one senior and four returning lettermen.




1. Malibu

2. Moorpark

3. Calabasas

4. Santa Paula

5. Nordhoff

6. Santa Clara


The most competitive league in the region will again involve an interesting race for playoff berths. . . . Pitchers Lori Tande (10-6) and Brittney Green (10-2) of Simi Valley both had earned-run averages under 0.90 last season. Tande batted .370 and Green hit .351. . . . Camarillo also will tag-team two pitchers. Senior Cindy Ball (13-4) and sophomore Kathrine Nevard (8-4) ranked among the region's top four pitchers from large-division Southern Section schools last season. . . . Newbury Park may have the best hitting team in the league with Oli Keohohou (.420), Candace Roberts (.415), Tawni Yamauchi (.377) and Cindy Muran (.368). . . . Westlake, with nine returning starters, has talented sophomore Erin Voeltz, who struck out 135 in 144 innings, and strong hitters Michelle Notaro (.356) and Sarah Koppel (.319). . . . Defending league champion Thousand Oaks has five starters back. But with two freshman pitchers, the Lancers will be hard-pressed to earn a playoff berth. Jennifer Richards, Kristin Combe and Colleen Spencer combined to drive in 54 runs last season. . . . In almost any other league in the region, Agoura would be favored to finish in the top three. Seven starters return, including pitcher Jennifer Grennan (0.69 ERA) and center fielder Chrissy Davie, who has committed to Purdue. . . . Royal senior catcher April Vaughn was an all-league selection last season.




1. Simi Valley

2. Camarillo

3. Newbury Park

4. Westlake

5. Thousand Oaks

6. Agoura

7. Royal

8. Channel Islands


Experience abounds in this league. La Reina and Oak Park return all of their starters. St. Bonaventure has everyone back except Clare McNamera. . . . Fillmore, St. Bonaventure and La Reina tied for the league title last season, but La Reina should win it outright this season. . . . La Reina, ranked No. 9 in the region, is strong in all aspects of the game. Senior shortstop Aimee Thompson (.338), the league's most valuable player, and sophomore catcher MacKenzie Vandergeest (.397) could start on any team in the region. Pitchers Kristen Ward (7-2, 0.22 ERA) and Danielle Field (8-5, 0.43 ERA) had the lowest ERAs among all small school pitchers. . . . St. Bonaventure, which is off to a rough start, will rely on senior pitcher Dolly Villa (8-6) and sophomore infielder Kathleen Solomon (.359), All-Ventura County small school selections. . . . Fillmore, one of four teams in the league with a returning pitcher, relies on ace Naomi Qualls and infielder Esther Gurrola. . . . Oak Park is strong up the middle with shortstop Julie Jensen (.430), second baseman Vivian Doan (.384), catcher Rachel Colson (.348) and pitcher Dana Porter (.274), all returning starters.



1. La Reina

2. Fillmore

3. St. Bonaventure

4. Oak Park

5. Bishop Diego

6. Carpinteria

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