The Sobrato High softball facility used to be known as The Farm. With weeds littering the outfield grass, myriad gopher holes and a makeshift fence consisting of netting, Sobrato’s home facility wasn’t exactly a field of dreams.
But that all officially changed on March 17 when there was a field dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting for Sobrato’s new softball facility before a non-league game against Christopher High.
“It was pretty emotional for us,” Bulldogs coach Dave Bauer said. “When they started the first announcement to the ceremony, that was when it kind of started getting to me. I’ve been here for four years and we’ve been trying so hard to get a little bit of equity for the girls. We had the right people at the right time, and it all clicked.”
Did it ever. The entire process took 2.5 months, a swift transformation that included the addition of foul poles, dugout awnings, a warning track, deluxe restrooms and, of course, the new outfield grass.
“The players just love it. They’re diving in the grass saying it’s like a pillow it’s so soft,” Bauer said.
As for the game itself, Sobrato kept the good vibes going with a 5-2 win over the Cougars. The Bulldogs trailed 2-0 after four innings before rallying for three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to complete the comeback victory.
The Ferrante sisters—Sofia and Stella—got things started in the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back walks. Lily Finegan singled to load the bases and after a fielder’s choice, Makayla Heffernan reached on an error, allowing courtesy runner Brooklyn Amato to score.
Raylene Cruz followed with a two-run single to give Sobrato a lead they would not relinquish. Stella Ferrante had a run-scoring groundout and Jaden Roush an RBI single to highlight the sixth inning. Idalia Lopez started and went 3 ⅓ innings, allowing one earned run.
Molly Orman tossed the final 3 ⅔ innings, shutting out Christopher the rest of the way. Both players pitched well and Orman is the team’s ace. Lopez and fellow senior Maegan Frisby have been solid and Bauer said he’s expecting another freshman on the team to start making an impact soon.
Roush and Brianna Jimenez led the team with two hits each. The Bulldogs, who entered the week at 6-5, look to duke it out with Willow Glen for the top spot in the Blossom Valley League’s Santa Teresa Division this season.
Sobrato has been playing mostly A-league teams leading up to its league opener against Piedmont Hills on March 29.
“We’ve got a lot of depth and some really strong pitching,” Bauer said. “The hitting is coming around for us and we’ve got to continue to put it all together. Everyone is all in and contributing, so we’re feeling pretty good about that.”
Bauer said Roush and Finegan have been true difference-makers.
“Jaden has really stood out this season and Lily is a four-year varsity player and everything is clicking,” he said. “She’s got good speed and good hands at second base. Outside of them, we’re waiting for someone else to explode offensively.”
Sobrato High School Athletics Booster President Mike Sullivan emceed the field dedication ceremony and heaped praise upon Morgan Hill Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Carmen Garcia, Sobrato Athletic Director Lawrence Crawford and the school board trustees for working synergistically from the administrative level to make this happen, and Ricky Carrillo—the district’s director of facilities and maintenance—for doing the actual bulk of the physical labor to install all the new bells and whistles for the new facility.
“We have an amazing superintendent, great support from the athletic director, our board doing a great job and Ricky as well, so it’s just a perfect storm where all the cards are falling in the right place,” Sullivan said. “We’re super excited for the future of Sobrato athletics for our kids.”
Sullivan said the next order of business is fundraising and securing money for a scoreboard, which he expects to happen “very shortly.” Sobrato is believed to be the only high school in the Bay Area without a single turf field, and Sullivan said his two big goals as president of the boosters is to increase the school’s social media presence and fixing the outdated fields.
The softball facility could be a harbinger to show how quickly things can get done when everyone is on the same page. Shortly after Garcia set up a meeting with school board members and the entire administrative staff at Sobrato to walk the fields on campus in January, Sullivan received a call from Jeff Dixon of the Morgan Hill Youth Sports Alliance.
Turns out Dixon had a friend at Grass Farm that had an acre of grass to donate, and that set everything in motion for a new softball field of dreams. From there, of course, all of the key players mentioned above had to be in unison to move forward immediately because the grass had to be installed within a certain time period. All of the other improvements followed the grass installation.
“When the grass is ready, you have to use it now, so Ricky has been amazing,” Sullivan said. “He probably spent every weekend working on the field—God bless that guy.”
The addition of deluxe porta potty restroom trailers has been a relief for everyone involved. In past years, coaches and players had a long walk back to campus if they had to use the restroom, which isn’t exactly conducive during athletic competition.
“It’s just the coolest thing to be able to celebrate a brand new stadium,” Bauer said. “Especially for the five seniors on the team who finally get to see something real. We kind of dedicated it to them and all the previous players who had to go through the battles of playing on a farm field.”
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]