Monache High softball coach Dave Koontz isn’t lacking for confidence.
Not with sophomore and New Mexico State-commit Chloe Rivas in the circle and a solid defense behind her.
And especially not with an offense that recorded seven hits during a come-from-behind, 4-2 victory over Mission Oak and Oregon State-bound pitcher Mariah Mazon on May 4 in a game that gave the Marauders sole possession of first place in the East Yosemite League.
“When you have a D-I pitcher and nails defense, which we do, you’ll be in any game,” Koontz said. “And if our hitting comes around, too, I’m not scared of anyone. Period.”
Never miss a local story.
When you have a D-I pitcher and nails defense, which we do, you’ll be in any game. And if our hitting comes around, too, I’m not scared of anyone. Period.
Monache softball coach Dave Koontz on his team’s chances of capturing the Central Section Division II softball title
Monache (21-5, 7-1) figures to be one of the top three seeds in Division II when playoff pairings for the Central Section’s six divisions are announced Saturday.
If the Marauders win their final two games – May 11 against Tulare Western and May 13 at Porterville – and capture the EYL title outright, they are likely in line for the No. 2 seed and home-field advantage for any games played up until the final, which is set for May 27 at Fresno State’s Margie Wright Field. Defending D-II champion Madera, which beat the Marauders 5-0 on March 31, is the top contender for the No. 1 seed.
Monache’s charge for the school’s second section title is led by Rivas, who has emerged as one of the section’s top dual threats. She is 17-4 with a 1.71 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 123 innings as a pitcher while sporting a .529 batting average with two home runs, 16 doubles and 33 RBIs hitting most recently out of the No. 5 spot.
She belted a two-run home run off Mazon, another one of the section’s top pitcher/hitter combos, that tied the score in Monache’s win over reigning D-IV champion Mission Oak on May 4.
“We could do really great things,” Rivas said. “Energy is a big deal with me. We just have to have that energy throughout the games and don’t give up.”
The Marauders feature four other players hitting .300 or better in Chelsea Ramos (.456, five HR, 26 RBIs), Jenna Reyes (.362), Jasmin Castillo (.318, 15 RBIs) and Jessenia Castillo (.304, 10 RBIs).
“We’re just starting to hit our stride offensively,” Koontz said. “I think we will compete well in the playoffs. But first, I’d like to win this league championship.”
Monache won its only section title in 2012, beating Clovis North 6-4 in the D-II final, according to historian Bob Barnett.
CENTRAL SECTION SOFTBALL RANKINGS
(Records through May 6)
- 1. Clovis (TRAC, 21-3)
- 2. Buchanan (TRAC, 21-5)
- 3. Stockdale (SWYL, 17-4)
- 4. Madera (CMAC, 20-6)
- 5. Bullard (CMAC, 15-8)
- 6. Central (TRAC, 18-6)
- 7. Clovis East (TRAC, 16-10)
- 8. Hanford West (WYL, 17-9)
- 9. Liberty-Bakersfield (SWYL, 16-10-1)
- 10. Frontier (SWYL, 16-11)
- 11. Liberty-Madera Ranchos (NSL, 22-4)
- 12. Hanford (WYL, 13-11-1)
- 13. Selma (CSL, 21-4)
- 14. Monache (EYL, 21-5)
- 15. El Diamante (WYL, 15-9)
- 16. Mission Oak (EYL, 18-5-1)
- 17. Ridgeview (SYL, 19-3)
- 18. Sanger (CMAC, 16-10)
- 19. Kingsburg (CSL, 15-11)
- 20. Centennial (SWYL, 12-14)
Division I: 1. Clovis; 2. Buchanan; 3. Stockdale
Division II: 1. Madera; 2. Monache; 3. El Diamante
Division III: 1. Liberty-Madera Ranchos; 2. Hanford; 3. Taft 19-6
Division IV: 1. Selma; 2. Mission Oak; 3. Wasco 17-5
Division V: 1. Caruthers 17-3-3; 2. Firebaugh 17-7; 3. Riverdale 15-7
Division VI: 1. Orange Cove 16-5; 2. Parlier 12-9; 3. Frazier Mountain 8-7