BY ESTEBAN RAMIREZ Special to The Californian
After struggling through a down year because of lack of depth and key injuries, the Bakersfield College softball team and first-year co-head coach Ryane Petersen are optimistic the Renegades can come back strong this year.
"I'm extremely excited about this year's team," said Petersen, a former player at Fresno State and Cal State Bakersfield who was a first-year assistant coach last year. "We have a lot of talent, a lot of heart and these girls ... love to be out on the field and they put everything they have every day out there. ...
"We have a definite chance of going to postseason and just having a great year. It's just a completely different feel this year."
The Renegades went 7-31 overall and 5-13 for sixth place in the Western State Blue Conference last season. College of the Canyons (34-11-2, 18-0) placed first.
In the offseason, BC also lost its softball head coach of 23 years, Sandi Taylor, who was named as the school's interim athletic director.
In October, Petersen and longtime BC assistant Keith Drewry were named as co-head coaches.
The Renegades have 11 new players and only two returnees.
The returners are pitcher Morgan Petersen (Ryane Petersen's sister) from Fresno-Central High, and first baseman Katie Hoffman from North High. Hoffman was the team's leading hitter last year with 39 hits, a .351 average and 18 RBIs in 111 at-bats. Petersen went 3-12 with a 6.68 ERA in 87 innings.
Ryane Petersen added that this year's group of freshmen are outstanding, but she believes that pitcher Brooke Quiddam from Delano, third baseman Brenna Vasquez from Frontier and utility player Alex Avila from North have potential for big seasons.
As a senior last season, Quiddam went 7-1 with a 3.19 ERA in 52.2 innings pitched.
Vasquez batted .443 with three home runs and 43 RBIs in 114 plate appearances at Frontier. Avila batted .514 at North with three home runs and 18 RBIs in 47 plate appearances.
"We have a lot of strengths, but first and foremost is the team camaraderie," Petersen said. "It's great and the team gets along real well. Our hitting right now is pretty dominant as well, but we still have a lot of improvement to do everywhere. There's not one specific area (that is a weakness), but I want us to keep everything going and I want us to keep everything going up."
Fresno City dominates BC
Fresno City College scored 14 runs in the fifth inning on the way to a 17-0 victory over Bakersfield College in a softball season opener Tuesday at BC.
The game ended after the fifth inning because of the mercy rule.
Selena Ruiz went 4-for-4 with two home runs, including a grand slam, and six RBIs for Fresno.
"It felt amazing," Ruiz said. "There was no pressure and I knew my team had my back. I thought we did really well. We hit the ball really well and we had good defense."
Headed into the top of the fifth, BC only down by three runs, but then the Rams led off the inning with two straight walks to Kyla Cisneros and Dana Moritz.
After a single by Ruiz, the Rams drew two more walks and scored Cisneros and Moritz.
With the bases still loaded, it set the stage for a grand slam by Naomi Gomez.
The Rams had 10 hits, drew five walks and went through the order two times in the inning.
"I thought we executed on every level," Rams co-head coach Haley Janzer said. "I think the main levels we focus on in practice we executed them very well today, so I have no complaints.
"We have very high expectations, so I'm very of how they played. I'm glad that they weren't just satisfied with five runs, 10 runs or 15 runs. They just didn't stop and kept executing."
Along with having a big day hitting, Ruiz had success on the mound. She started the game and got the win. She pitched five innings, struck out one and only gave up two hits.
BC's Brooke Quiddam, took the loss.
"I'm very proud of my team," Ruiz said. "I felt the support and I felt relaxed going back on the mound. I felt good. I feel proud about myself, and I feel like I accomplished something I didn't know I was capable of."