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NO SOPHOMORE JINX

Walljasper kept Sierra competitive despite loss of key players

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NO SOPHOMORE JINX

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED July 7, 2012 1:21 a.m.

After an opening act that culminated in Sierra High’s first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section softball title, Allison Walljasper came into her sophomore season toting huge expectations.

Walljasper wasn’t able to hold grasp on the section title, but a 10-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 13 wins and an ERA of less than a half run were good enough to land her The Bulletin’s 2012 All-Area Softball Player of the Year award.

Walljasper continually excelled in just her second season at the high school level, guiding a completely different Sierra High group back to the Division IV section championship. From the season’s onset until the Timberwolves’ title game loss, Walljasper was the definite force navigating Sierra’s success.

“In the beginning of the year we were not as strong as last year’s team, but we knew we could get work done,” Walljasper said. “We weren’t expected to get that far in sections but we did. We all worked hard and we worked hard with what we had to work with.”

Key injuries, key departures and the keen focus from each of its opponent each time they got a shot at Walljasper made Sierra’s run inevitably more difficult. Yet, those same hurdles were eventually what defined the section’s runner-up.

Walljasper definitely was the focal point from her pitching circle, but the prowess that she took into the batter’s box was second to none. Walljasper was walked time and time again (22 times in 62 plate appearances), but took full advantage when teams pitched to her.

She led the club with five home runs, finished second in RBI and runs scored and closed the season with a .368 clip.

“I am a softball player,” Walljasper said. “I am an all-around player. I can play first and I like to hit and I like to pitch. I just try and get things done at all of my positions. Getting walked is a little bit frustrating, but you just have to have the mentality you’re taking it for the team.”

Walljasper’s dominance did not go overlooked amongst the Valley Oak League coaches, as she garnered her second MVP award, sharing the honors with Ariana Hawkins of Kimball High. Oakdale high edged Sierra out for the section crown, substantiating the depth of talent in VOL softball.

“It was extremely competitive,” Walljasper said of the VOL grind. “Way more competitive than it was last year. Kimball came out really good and surprised a lot of people and Oakdale was just Oakdale.

“You know what you get from them every year.”

With an expected spike in talent from incoming freshmen, Louisiana State University verbal commit Walljasper returning, and a shift in the hierarchy with the Oakdale pitching staff makes Walljasper’s chances at returning to the final game of the season a pretty good one.

“It was good for Oakdale to win it, that team deserved it,” Walljasper said. “We worked really hard throughout the season, but we knew that they were the better team at that point and we really couldn’t do anything about it.

“We have some good freshmen coming in, Oakdale’s pitcher (Shelby Reali) is leaving. I think we have a pretty good chance at winning it all.”

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