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The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

SOFTBALL PREVIEW: With new head coach, Lady Lancers work on team tactics

Left+field+Junior+Zoey+Matthews+bunts+a+ball+while+batting+during+an+afterschool+practice+at+the+Sunny+Hills+softball+field+on+Wednesday%2C+March+13.+After+winning+the+Freeway+League+title+last+season%2C+the+Lady+Lancers+are+hoping+to+achieve+the+same+feat+this+year+while+adjusting+to+a+new+head+coach.
Noah Lee
Left field Junior Zoey Matthews bunts a ball while batting during an afterschool practice at the Sunny Hills softball field on Wednesday, March 13. After winning the Freeway League title last season, the Lady Lancers are hoping to achieve the same feat this year while adjusting to a new head coach.

Coach: Vanessa Moreno (head coach)

Top Returning Players: Maddie Moreno (12), Elayna Marquez (10), Olivia Pedraza (12) 

Top Newcomers: Ava Flores (9), Amelia Herbert (9), Saraya Jhawar (9)

Last Season: The Lady Lancers won first place in the Freeway League with a 9-1 record, their only blemish being a 1-0 loss against La Habra High School. They lost 6-1 in the first round of CIF playoffs to Sierra Canyon High School, finishing with a 14-7-1 overall record. 

Outlook: Despite its former head coach Dale Lopes, who was hired this year, resigning on Friday, March 8, the team maintains a strong mentality to win a Freeway League champion title and advance past the third round of CIF.    

 “I am looking forward to kicking off a new leadership role here,” said Vanessa Moreno, who was named the new head coach on the day of Lopes’ resignation. “The past is the past, and we’re all ready to keep going.”

Despite her determination, she said she faced challenges adjusting to the sudden transition and learning her roles as the new head coach.   

“Unlike being an assistant coach, I have to involve myself in more of an administrative role like planning practices and talking more to the [players] before and after games,” she said. “I hope to incorporate more [team] communication among each other on the pitch. Our defense is really solid and our pitchers are consistent, so we’re going to use that to help us set [the] tone for the game.” 

Third and first baseman co-captain sophomore Elayna Marquez remains positive in the midst of the coaching changes after the team’s win against California High School on Tuesday, March 12, their ninth game and fourth win of the season, all in non-league matches.

Pitcher sophomore Samantha Apolinar gets ready to throw a pitch during team practice after school at the Sunny Hills softball field on Wednesday, March 13.

“We played great [against] California so obviously there’s no effect in our personal game but mentally it might be little,” Marquez said. “We’re going to focus on practicing more because when you practice more, you get comfortable with everyone and that makes the game more fun and less pressuring.”   

Marquez also has her sights set on earning a spot on the First Team All-League to further prove her capability as a player.

“We want to beat Sonora High School, Fullerton High School or La Habra High School the most because they’re our biggest rivals this year,” she said. “I want to help my teammates as much as I can [as co-captain] for them to be at their best potential; but, for myself, making it to First Team All-League is one of my biggest goals.” 

Regarding the team’s play styles, pitcher and first baseman sophomore Samantha Apolinar acknowledged the challenges it faced at the start of the season but said that its core strengths will remain relatively unchanged. 

“I think we have really good pitching, and we have a bunch of key hitters that are able to get timely hits,” she said. “Since we lost a lot of our [senior] bigger hitters [after they graduated], we will need to adjust to using other strategies like bunting.”  

Other than junior varsity head coach Emily Gonzales, Moreno said that no plans are in place for any assistant coaches this year because of no current eligible candidates but holds an optimistic view on the team’s future. 

“[The team] is excited, and they’re already pushing forward,” the head coach said. “There’s lots of unity, and it helps us get through each and every game.”

The Lady Lancers faced a l-0 loss to Fullerton Union High School in their first Freeway League and away game on Monday, March 25. 

“We played hard throughout the game, but we were just unable to pull through in hitting,” Apolinar said. “We had a tough game but we will definitely bounce back with hitting and executing plays at the next game.” 

The team will play a home game against Sonora High School on Wednesday, March 27 at 3:30 p.m.

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Teo Jeong, Staff Reporter
Junior Teo Jeong joined The Accolade upon his friend's recommendation. As a staff reporter, Jeong hopes to write good articles for the print platform. Whenever he is not doing school work, he likes to exercise, cook and golf.
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