Fresno City College pitcher Sarah Santana has dreams of playing at a four-year college.
She made her intentions known to Fresno City coach Rhonda Williamsat the end of the 2015 season.
For Williams, that meant it was time for a frank discussion.
“We had to be honest with her and tell her if she wants to play at the next level she would need to get in better shape,” Williams said.
Santana was determined to get in better shape and she did, losing 110 pounds, resulting in better endurance and helping her Rams to a Central Valley Conference title and a No. 2 seed in the NorCal Regionals.
Fresno City (35-4) will open against visiting No. 15 Ohlone (19-16-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday. Game 2 will be on Sunday with another game if needed.
Williams noticed the difference in Santana when fall semester started.
“It was pretty amazing,” Williams said. “She took it upon herself over the summer and worked really hard. She was determined because she wants to keep playing softball.”
Santana kept it simple: She worked out twice a day at a gym, with cardio in the morning, and ran three miles a day, except on Sundays, in her neighborhood.
I felt like that’s what I needed to do to get myself to the next level.
Fresno City pitcher Sarah Santana on losing 110 pounds
“I felt like that’s what I needed to do to get myself to the next level,” Santana said. “That’s what I needed to do to be successful.”
It has shown in the circle and at the plate. Santana is 34-4 with a 1.94 ERA and seven complete games. She also smacked 13 home runs and has a team-leading 59 RBIs, resulting in Northern California and Central Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year honors.
34-4 Sarah Santana’s record, which leads the state
Teammates have taken notice in the new-look Santana, especially sophomore Aubrey Blankenburg, who encouraged Santana to stick to her plan.
“I was with her in summer school and she was working really hard, eating right, working out two to three times a day,” she said. “She wanted to get into good shape … for her own self and for this team and to have a great sophomore season.”
Last season, Santana went 9-11 and had five complete games and a 3.55 ERA. She had 10 home runs and batted .354, driving in 31 runs.
“She really wants to play at a four-year,” Blankenburg said. “I think since she’s lost weight it goes to show how hard of a worker she is. She is totally capable of going on to that next level.”
Santana cut several bad food habits. She brings lunch from home rather than eating at a fast-food restaurant. She also drinks plenty of water.
She wants to be her best. She proved that this year with her endurance and to be able to throw 39 games for us this year … it’s been incredible.
Fresno City coach Rhonda Williams
“She wants to be her best,” Williams said. “She proved that this year with her endurance and to be able to throw 39 games for us this year … it’s been incredible.”
Santana said she feels completely different and credits her work regimen for having a good season.
“A lot of hard work over the summer and the whole year,” she said. “I really focused myself on getting in better shape. That’s definitely helped me like to be able to do all these things and be healthy and to do well.”
Baseball – Reedley, the 16th seed still alive after winning a wild-card play-in game, is one victory from knocking off North top-seeded Santa Rosa in the regional playoffs. The Tigers followed up a 3-1 victory over No. 17 Feather River on Tuesday in their first postseason game since 1963 by beating No. 1 Santa Rosa 7-3 on Friday to open a best-of-three series. Reedley scored four in a second-inning raly that included Grant Farris’ RBI groundout and an Alan Crowley RBI single, to build a 6-1 lead.
▪ No. 11 seed San Mateo scored twice in the top of 10th inning for a 6-4 victory over No. 6 Fresno City at John Euless Ballpark.
The Rams will need to win twice Saturday to advance. First game is set for 11 a.m., with the second game to follow 30 minutes later, if needed.
Fresno City (26-11) scored four runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by Alec Emerzian’s three-run double.
The Bulldogs improved to 24-13.
Junior college softball: NorCal Regionals
Best-of-three series; If lights are not available, then all games at 2 p.m., May 7; and noon, x-2 p.m., May 8.
If lights are available, then all games at 7 p.m., Saturday; and 2 p.m., x-4 p.m., Sunday.
- Saturday: No. 15 Ohlone (19-6-1) at No. 2 Fresno City (35-4), 2 p.m.; No. 16 Napa Valley (18-19) at No. 1 San Mateo (36-3); No. 9 Cabrillo (27-12) at No. 8 San Joaquin Delta (25-15); No. 13 Feather River (21-13) at No. 4 Cosumnes River (30-10); No. 12 Solano (31-9) at No. 5 Sierra (30-10); No. 14 Shasta (19-17) at No. 3 Sacramento City (29-8-1); No. 11 American River (24-16) at No. 6 San Jose City (27-11); No. 10 Merced (26-11) at No. 7 Diablo Valley (26-13-1)
- Sunday (third games, if needed, to follow): No. 16 Napa Valley at No. 1 San Mateo; No. 9 Cabrillo at No. 8 San Joaquin Delta; No. 13 Feather River at No. 4 Cosumnes River; No. 12 Solano at No. 5 Sierra; No. 14 Shasta at No. 3 Sacramento City; No. 11 American River at No. 6 San Jose City; No. 10 Merced at No. 7 Diablo Valley; No. 15 Ohlone at No. 2 Fresno City
- Tickets: $8 students, faculty, children, seniors; $12 adults