A pair of Watsonville High seniors were recognized on Sunday as the top softball players for the Pacific Coast Athletic League spring season.
Juliana Wilson was named the PCAL Gabilan Most Valuable Player, while Jessica Rodriguez took home the Pitcher of the Year award.
“It’s pretty cool to have two players bringing home the hardware like that,” said Watsonville coach Scott Wilson. “But if you ask them, they’ll trade the hardware in for a championship any day of the week.”
Wilson finished the year batting .597 with 10 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs, 32 RBIs and 31 runs scored for the Wildcatz.
Wilson was a unanimous decision and won her second MVP award after receiving it during her freshman year when the Wildcatz were still in the Monterey Bay League Pacific Division.
“(Wilson’s) been doing it pretty much the same every year,” Coach Wilson said.
Wilson and Rodriguez combined for the most wins as a pitcher-catcher duo for the Wildcatz.
Rodriguez, who is committed to play at UNLV next year, won her third straight Pitcher of the Year award.
Rodriguez concluded her illustrious senior season with an 18-2 record, a 1.30 ERA and 201 strikeouts, which put her over a record-breaking 700 career strikeouts at Watsonville High.
Wilson said Rodriguez’s stats were the best in the league and was ranked at the top in most categories.
Coach Wilson mentioned her ERA wasn’t quite the best and she gave up a few more home runs this year, which is where the earned run average will kick up.
“Overall it was a pretty solid performance again,” Wilson said. “(Rodriguez) has been pretty dominate throughout her high school career.”
Watsonville sophomores Anastacia Alba and Maliyah Sandin both received Second Team honors.
Alba batted .368 with six doubles, two triples, a home run, 17 RBIs and 15 runs scored, while Sandin batted .460 with seven doubles, a triple, 11 RBIs and 19 runs scored for the Wildcatz.
Coach Wilson said Alba had a strong approach and effort this season but took a step down from last year’s performance when she hit nine home runs and batted over .400.
Sandin was the leadoff hitter who set the tone for the lineup.
“My idea of a leadoff hitter is going up there and making the pitcher work,” Wilson said.
Watsonville senior Emily Ornelas was named to the Richard Chamberlin All-Sportsmanship Team.
Watsonville High senior Jessica Rodriguez was named the Pitcher of the Year for the Pacific Coast Athletic League Gabilan Division spring season. (Juan Reyes — Register-Pajaronian)
Cypress Division >> St. Francis freshman Alicia Mendez was named the PCAL Cypress Pitcher of the Year after a stellar first season on the team.
Mendez went 9-6 and recorded 126 strikeouts in 18 appearances in the circle for the Sharks. She also batted .422 with nine doubles, a triple, six home runs, 29 RBIs and six runs scored.
“(Mendez) put in the hard work and did an outstanding job,” said St. Francis coach Art Doten. “For being a freshman and to do what she did is almost unheard of.”
Doten said what sent Mendez over the top was the game against Monte Vista Christian, where she racked up seven strikeouts in a complete game shutout win.
“Her demeanor on the mound, her work ethic and completing her pitches… she just was a workhorse,” Doten said.
Mendez was also named to the PCAL Cypress First Team along with senior Lena Ciandro and sophomore Audrey Hernandez.
St. Francis freshman Alicia Mendez was named the PCAL Cypress Pitcher of the Year after a stellar first season on the team. (Juan Reyes — Register-Pajaronian)
Monte Vista Christian senior Samantha Baer and junior Kendall McPhillips were both named to the Cypress Division First Team.
Baer finished the year with a 12-2 record and recorded 114 strikeouts in 18 appearances in the pitching circle for the Mustangs. She also batted .640 with three doubles, a triple, 12 home runs, 33 RBIs and 16 runs scored.
McPhillips batted .607 with eight doubles, a triple, five home runs, 23 RBIs and 26 runs scored.
St. Francis junior Angelina Heredia and freshman Aaliyah Gomez were named to the Second Team.
“It was an awesome year and great experience,” Doten said. “A lot of history this year. First time winning the league and first time going to CCS.”
Other notable Second Team selections include MVC senior Haley Hollingsworth and freshman Mariah Montalvo.
St. Francis senior Maria Madrigal-Hernandez and MVC sophomore Briana Fowler were named to the Richard Chamberlin All-Sportsmanship Team.
Stevenson School freshman Rhea Cosand was named the PCAL Cypress MVP and also earned First Team honors.
Monte Vista Christian senior Samantha Baer was named to the Pacific Coast Athletic League Cypress Division First Team. (Juan Reyes — Register-Pajaronian)
Mission Division >> North Monterey County seniors Debora Guzman and Malorie Ramirez were named to the PCAL Mission Second Team.
NMC sophomore Bekah Bueno was named to the Richard Chamberlin All-Sportsmanship Team. The Condors were also awarded the Elgie Bellizio Team Sportsmanship Award.
Carmel High junior Kendra Hyles was named the PCAL Mission MVP and senior Jessica Pavloff was recognized as Pitcher of the Year.
Santa Lucia Division >> Lluvia Alvarez of Pajaro Valley was named to the PCAL Santa Lucia First Team, while teammate Veronica Alvarez was selected for the Second Team.
PV’s Nirel Ortega was named to the Richard Chamberlin All-Sportsmanship Team.
Kalil Holt of King City was named the PCAL Santa Lucia MVP, while Sofia Prieto of Gonzales was awarded with Pitcher of the Year honors.
Editor's Note: This article will be published in the May 31 edition of the Register-Pajaronian.