And so the Maria Vazquez era begins at Sierra High.
Vazquez struck out five and went the distance in an 11-3 non-league victory over Antioch on Tuesday afternoon.
The Timberwolves made their home debut against the Panthers (1-1) and gave their fans an entirely new look. Gone are the program’s mainstays, former All-Area Softball MVP Ally Walljasper (now pitching as a true freshman at LSU) and head coach Nick Olmo, both of whom engineered the golden era in Sierra softball.
In their place have stepped Vazquez, a junior who let the defense work behind her Tuesday, longtime assistant Vic DeAnda and a host of fast-rising juniors.
“Our defense was very solid,” DeAnda said, his club now 2-1 on the new season. “… We played solid all game.”
Leadoff hitter Devi Coglio set the tone for the offense. The junior went 2-for-2 and scored four runs. Fellow junior Kendell Messersmith was 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Both are key cogs for Sierra’s young nucleus.
The Timberwolves are in action next at the Waterford tournament at Rainbow Fields on Thursday.
Manteca 16, Patterson 8
The Buffaloes erased a three-run deficit in a dash, and then never let up in a runaway victory over Patterson.
Tawny Deerinck doubled, drove in two runs and reached base three times to lead Manteca’s hit parade.
Celina Cooper, Annissa Gonzalez and Beth Aschenbrenner (three RBIs) had two hits apiece, including home runs by Cooper and Gonzalez.
Cooper drove in four runs, while Gonzalez plated three runs.
The Buffaloes roared into the lead with a five-run third and an eight-run sixth.
Haighley Kissee went the distance, earning a rough-and-tumble victory. She allowed eight runs on 11 hits, while striking out only three.
Ripon Christian 25, Langston Hughes
Emily Van Vliet and Kristin King belted home runs for the Lady Knights, who induced the 10-run mercy rule after four innings.
Van Vliet had three hits, including a grand slam, and five RBIs, while King drove in three runs.
Pitcher Bethany Silveira surrendered five hits and three walks in the four innings.