One of the Central Section's top softball programs -- nationally ranked El Diamante High -- will be without its marquee player for the foreseeable future.
Senior pitcher Sierra Hyland, a three-time Bee All-Star and Cal Poly recruit, is in a walking boot after injuring her left ankle March 1 in a game against Tulare Western.
Hyland was rounding second on a double when she caught her ankle on the bag. She was initially thought to have a broken bone, but after getting a second opinion, Hyland learned she had only injured the tendons.
Miners coach Travis Roebuck said there isn't a timetable for Hyland's return, but the injury likely won't keep her sidelined long from a team ranked No. 8 nationally in maxpreps.com's Xcellent 25.
"It will nag her for a little while, but we really hope that by league she's back to full strength," Roebuck said.
Hyland had eight hits in her first 11 at-bats (.727 average) with four doubles, two triples and four RBIs.
For her career, Hyland is a .404 hitter with 29 doubles, 21 homers and 102 RBIs. In the circle, she was 2-0 with two shutouts and 17 strikeouts in 182/3 innings this season, and 80-13 with a 1.63 ERA, 40 shutouts and 762 strikeouts.
Hyland has been relatively injury free throughout her career, and missed no time last year after knee surgery two weeks before the season.
"She heals quickly and she's relentless to get back on the field," Roebuck said. "At the same time, I don't want to rush her back too soon so it doesn't drag on. We need her at the end of the season."
The Miners, with sophomore Elizabeth Luna taking over at pitcher, are 2-1 at the Buchanan Preseason Tournament, which continues Saturday with pool play.
El Diamante is competing with Clovis North (3-0 in the tourney), Buchanan (2-1) and Bullard (2-1) for one of two berths from Pool A in the Division I semifinals, which are set for 5:45 p.m.
Defending section D-I champion Central and runner-up Clovis West are 3-0, while Kingsburg is 2-1 in Pool B. The championship is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. at the Buchanan Softball Complex.
Even without Hyland, the Miners have a pair of NCAA Division I recruits in senior catcher Katy McJunkin (Purdue) and senior second baseman Stevi Johnson (Charleston Southern), and slugging sophomore third baseman Rylee Pierce.
"I know our girls are going to find a way to step up and do what's needed to be successful," Roebuck said. "We'll compete and give any team we play the best game we can."
Softball Top 10
1. Central 4-0
2. El Diamante 5-1
3. Clovis West 5-4
4. Clovis 2-0
5. Golden West 6-1
6. Clovis North 6-3
7. Buchanan 3-2
8. Bullard 3-2
9. Stockdale 2-2
10. Frontier 8-0
* Records through Wednesday
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