Realignments in the Bay Valley Conference will make things even tougher for the softball team this season. The old system of dividing schools according to their relative strength is gone, replaced with geographical divisions. That means Yuba will be put up against the larger schools nearby like Delta, Sacramento City and American River, members of the former BVC Gold Division, rather than traveling to face other smaller schools who made up the BVC Silver Division along with Yuba. Playing in a tougher conference is the last thing the 49ers need. The small Yuba team is not known for productive offense and will have a hard time keeping up with the former BVC Gold Division teams. However, head coach Stephanie Reynolds said that with the new and returning players coming on this season the team is looking pretty good. “We don’t have a lot of power hitting, but we have girls that can put it into play and make things happen,” Reynolds said. She will be looking to returning players Sherrae Scott, Kari Waselinko and Molly Short, as well as the new players, Estrada and Katie Prell, to lead the offense this season. On the defensive side, Reynolds sees depth as the most important factor in the team’s chances. Players finishing volleyball and basketball in the fall might be joining the team in the spring, and that “would be a huge plus for us,” she said. “We need people so that when I don’t have a person in, someone else can come in and relieve the pressure,” Reynolds said. “We haven’t had that yet.”
Freshman Neisja Estrada will be the premier pitcher this year. With Bev Baker, Amber Stewart, and Tristan LaChappa also pitching, Reynolds sees the 49ers with more depth than they have previously had. Maggie Heeter will be catching, Reynolds said, with help from Lauren Everett and, hopefully, Lorraine Oliver from Marysville.
The softball season will begin on Tuesday, February 17, with a home game against Lassen College.