For all of the Selma High softball team’s recent run of success – five straight seasons with at least 19 wins and four consecutive top-two playoff seeds – there is one glaring omission to the résumé.
A Central Section championship.
The top-seeded Bears, who have lost in two of the past four finals, get another chance to add to the trophy case Saturday when they face defending champion and No. 2 Mission Oak for the Division IV title. First pitch is 11:30 a.m. at Fresno State’s Margie Wright Diamond, host to all six section finals over two days.
“It’s a hill we’ve never been able to get over,” Selma coach Kellen Kubo said. “We’ve been pretty successful over the last five years, we’ve just never been able to win the big one.”
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It’s a hill we’ve never been able to get over. We’ve been pretty successful over the last five years, we’ve just never been able to win the big one.
Selma softball coach Kellen Kubo, whose team has won at least 19 games each of the past five seasons, but lost in the Central Section finals twice
The playoff stage has overwhelmed Selma recently. Consider:
▪ Last season, as the top seed, the Bears lost 12-0 to No. 4 Mission Oak in the D-IV semifinals.
▪ In 2014, second-seeded Selma was edged 3-2 by No. 3 Exeter in a D-V semifinal.
▪ In 2013, the top-seeded Bears were blown out 10-2 by Exeter in the D-V final.
▪ And in 2012, Selma fell 10-0 to Liberty-Madera Ranchos in the D-V final.
Behind four-year starters Anisha Navarro (shortstop), Allyson Trevino (second base) and Ariel Avalos (first base), and an infusion of young talent in sensational sophomores in Aly Cerda (catcher) and Hailey Garcia (pitcher) and freshman Dom Trevino (outfield), Kubo said he has the team to deliver Selma’s first title since the Andrea Duran-led teams of 1999 and 2001.
“With our senior leadership and underclassmen ready to step up, we’re really prepared this year,” Kubo said. “We’re probably more prepared than we’ve ever been for the Valley championship this year.
“We’re a lot more mature in a sense of not letting our nerves take over us.”
Kubo has helped oversee a major turnaround in his seven seasons at Selma, which fell on hard times after the Duran-led glory days.
When Kubo arrived in 2010, few in the program played travel ball, a staple for competitive players such as Duran, who went on to become an NCAA, Olympic and professional champion.
“In order to compete with the big schools, we had to get going year-round,” Kubo said. “When I got this senior class, they started a foundation of an actual softball program. It helped the Selma community get behind us and helped develop the younger players. Now, when you are a kid in middle school, they want to play for Selma High. They have something to look forward to.”
Central Section softball championships
Friday-Saturday at Fresno State’s Margie Wright Diamond
▪ Division I: No. 1 Buchanan vs. No. 2 Clovis, 7 p.m. Saturday
▪ D-II: No. 1 Madera vs. No. 2 Monache, 7 p.m. Friday
▪ D-III: No. 2 Hanford vs. No. 8 Independence, 2 p.m. Saturday
▪ D-IV: No. 1 Selma vs. No. 2 Mission Oak, 11:30 a.m. Saturday
▪ D-V: No. 1 Caruthers vs. No. 2 Firebaugh, 4:30 p.m. Friday
▪ D-VI: No. 1 Orange Cove vs. No. 2 Parlier, 4:30 p.m. Saturday