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Manteca’s Almeida slugs way to VOL Offensive Player of the Year honors
All-VOL Softball
Jessica Almeida connects for a base hit against East Union in Manteca’s final regular-season game on May 9. - photo by Wayne Thallander

Jessica Almeida hit for astounding .621 batting average in Valley Oak League play and was awarded the Offensive Player Year award.

The recent Manteca High graduate headlines Manteca Unified standouts who made the all-league team. The Buffaloes finished 5-5 in the highly-competitive VOL and 17-9 overall, reaching the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.

Almeida absolutely raked in league, even against one of the top pitchers in the nation. She led Manteca with 18 hits, nine runs, nine RBIs, six doubles and a homer over

All-VOL Softball
Manteca third baseman Elon James prepares to throw to first in a non-league game with Linden on March 22. - photo by Wayne Thallander
10 VOL games and remarkably only struck out twice in 35 plate appearances.

Almeida ended the regular season on a seven-game hitting streak, going 17 for 22 while making the program’s 100 Hit Club in that span. She squared off with Cal-bound Randi Roelling and Central Catholic, going 4 for 4 with two doubles, a homer, two runs and three RBIs.

Roelling was named VOL MVP for a second straight season and went on to lead Central Catholic (10-0, 30-4 overall) to the SJS and NorCal Division III championships. Oakdale’s Delaney Everett, who is headed to Mississippi State, repeats as Pitcher of the Year. Kimball sophomore outfielder Kaeliana DePerio earned Defensive Player of the Year. Sierra’s Mike James received Coach of the Year.

All-VOL Softball
Manteca’s Nayellys Torres winds up for the pitch against host Tracy in non-league action on March 8. - photo by WAYNE THALANDER
Only two area players made the All-VOL first team. Joining Almeida are fellow Buffaloes Elon Jmaes and Nayellys Torres. James, a senior third baseman this past season, was Manteca’s second-leading hitter in league with a .345 average. Pitching ace Torres, a junior, sported a 4-2 league record with a 0.72 ERA, 56 strikeouts, 27 hits and three walks allowed in 39 innings. The three Buffaloes repeat as all-league selections. James was Co-Offensive Player of the Year in 2022.

Manteca freshmen Jocelyn Baptist and Sienna Lowery made the All-VOL second team.

East Union (2-8, 11-10) has six second-team selections in junior outfielder Lydia Allgaier, senior first baseman Kylee Gann, senior catcher Mackenzie Nervis, senior pitcher Layla Molina, senior shortstop Diana La Fuentes and junior outfielder Aubree Gann.

Junior outfielder Breanna Tyler is the lone second-team selection for Sierra (0-10, 1-14).

The All-Defensive Team includes East Union outfielder Mikayla Simpson, Sierra outfielder Amelia Hernandez, Manteca shortstop Baylee Willenbrink and Manteca catcher Lauren Moncada.