School: El Diamante
He's qualified because: After two Division II runner-up finishes and a semifinals exit in his first three seasons, Roebuck and assistants Hillaree Bennett and Donovan McJunkin guided the Miners to a championship during the program's first year in the Central Section's premier playoff division. Fourth-seeded El Diamante completed its improbable title run by defeating arguably the section's toughest pitcher – UC Davis-bound Justine Vela – of top-seeded and defending champion Stockdale 1-0 in Bakersfield. The Miners also went through Tri-River Athletic Conference powers Clovis West (quarterfinals) and Central (semifinals) while going 28-5, a school record for wins in a season. "Going in, we knew we had a tall task ahead of us," Roebuck said. "Now we're with the Clovis Wests, the Centrals and the Stockdales, all the big schools."
Welcome to Visalia: Roebuck arrived at El Diamante for his first job out of college as a physical education instructor, slotted to be an assistant in the football and baseball programs. He was lured over to softball having never coached – or even played a slow-pitch game, for that matter – softball or girls sports before becoming the junior varsity coach seven years ago. "I'm definitely not a softball guru. I've just tried to put people in the right spots at the right times hopefully."
Where's the puck?: Roebuck grew up in Salinas as a club hockey player. He played one year of high school baseball, but gave that sport up when it got in the way of playing hockey. So he's soaked up as much knowledge as possible from past coaches in the program such as Brand and Skip Pendergast and his current assistants Bennett and McJunkin.
The price of success: With six key starters slated to return next season (Bee Player of the Year Sierra Hyland, catcher Katy McJunkin, shortstop Kyla Cisneros, second baseman Stevi Johnson, first baseman Elizabeth Ruiz and right fielder Baylee Jensen), El Diamante will be the hunted rather than the hunter. "We want to be one of those staple programs," Roebuck said. "But if you are going to be that staple program, you have to know everyone is going to step up and compete with you because it will make people's seasons when they beat you."