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Manteca seniors sign with colleges
pic mhs softball signings n
From left, Manteca Highs Sierra Martinez, Tawny Deernick and Haighley Kissee signed national letters Thursday to play college softball next year. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

Haighley Kissee, Tawny Deernick and Sierra Martinez make up more than half of the Manteca High infield.

Kissee is the pitcher while Deernick and Martinez are anchored at shortstop and third base, respectively.

The trio will be moving on, signing Thursday to the play softball at the college of their choice.

“I’ve known Tawny since my freshman year and Haighley since I was 8 years old,” said Martinez, who is the only one of the three making the commitment to play out of state.

She’ll be playing at Kansas Wesleyan in Salina, Kan. The Coyotes of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference is coached by Hailey Torrez, who is wrapping up her first year at the helm.

“I wanted to go out of state and (Kansas Wesleyan) made me feel at home,” said Martinez, who was joined on her signing day by her folks, Terri and Jeff Martinez.

She had looked at other schools, notably, down south and Missouri. Kansas Wesleyan caught eye of Martinez, who plays travel ball for USA Elite out of Lodi, at one of the tournaments.

Martinez is looking to study Biomedical Chemistry.

Kissee, who is looking at physical therapy as a career – her major at Holy Names will be in Sports Biology – also gained exposure from travel softball.

The Holy Names University Hawks of the Pacwest Conference noticed her while pitching for the NorCal Firecrackers under then-coach Bill Silvan.

Kissee was initially leaning towards Concordia University in Portland but balked after a coaching change.

The Buffalo ace found the Oakland school to her liking. 

“It’s not too far from home and I can see my family,” said Kissee, who was joined by her folks, Sherie and Jonathan, on this special day.

The Hawks are coached by Alyssa Smoke.

They also play in the same conference as Notre Dame De Namur University.

That’s where Deernick will be playing.

She chose the Belmont campus – located next to San Carlo on the peninsula – over that of several east coast colleges.

“I wanted to stay close to home,” said Deernick, who played travel ball locally for the Easton Preps. “I really liked the coaches (Ashley Carter is the head coach for the Argonauts and Chuck Caldera is he associated head coach), the style, and the environment.”

She plans to major in Biology.