By John M. Sherrard
(Walnut, Ca) It's difficult to improve on 40 wins, but the Mt. SAC Softball team has that goal and more in its sights for the 2017 season.
The first pitch will take place at Palomar College on Saturday January 28. Game time is 12:00 pm.
The home opener will be Tuesday January 31 against Antelope Valley College at 5:00 pm.
The Mounties, led by fifth-year coach Ruby Rojas, came up one game short in reaching the CCCAA State Final Four losing in the So Cal Super Regional Championship game to Santiago Canyon, which went on to win the state title.
Mt. SAC has won four state titles in 2003, '05, '07 and '09 and will aim for an 11th appearance in the state playoffs and a 2017 title.
"It's going to be a great season," Rojas said. "It's a continuation of last season, but our goal is a state championship."
A big 2016 award was handed out to shortstop Kayla Sok as the sophomore was named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Golden Shoe Award Winner.
Sok (29 RBIs, 5 HR), who prepped at Glendora HS, stole a near-perfect 43 of 44 bases and had a .434 batting average. She also scored 53 runs and had 49 hits.
The NFCA Golden Shoe Award is presented annually to the player determined to be the most outstanding base stealer from an NFCA member institution in each of the following divisions: NCAA (Divisions 1, 2 & 3), NAIA, NJCAA (Divisions 1, 2 & 3), California Community Colleges, NWAC and high school.
Another big award last year went to Rojas from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) as the recipient of the first Diversity Convention Grant.
The grant is the product of the NFCA's Diversity Committee awarded to a minority member coach who shows a commitment to working with minorities and growing the game of fastpitch in their communities.
The award gave Rojas the opportunity to attend the NFCA National Convention in New Orleans last December.
Rojas runs camps and clinics with minorities on the local and international level.
A 2017 returner for the Mounties is outfielder Alyssa Rasso who had a .436 average in 32 games, including a team-leading 58 hits which was in the top 20 in the state.
In the circle the Mounties were tops in the state with the number-one team ERA at 1.21, and allowed the least amount of runs with 92.
With that top ERA came the states' best two pitchers. Sophomore Tiffany Kennedy-Cummngs (16-4, 137 Ks, 155.2 IP) was the top pitcher in ERA and only one under 1.00 with a 0.99. Second in the state with an ERA of 1.09 and a 12-1 record was sophomore Racqual Espinoza.
Sophomore Jessica Olvera rounds out the trio with a 12-2 record and a 1.69 ERA, which was good for 11th in the state.
Follow Mt. SAC Women's softball on twitter @MtSAC_Softball
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.