Barring a rash of unforeseen circumstances, the Sobrato High softball team will win a league championship for the first time in eight years.
The upstart Bulldogs can clinch the Blossom Valley Athletic League Santa Teresa East Division title with an expected win May 3 which would give them a perfect 6-0 division record with just two league games remaining.
Sobrato beat two of its closest competitors last week, whipping Christopher 17-0 on April 26 before downing Silver Creek two days later. This year’s championship would be the fourth in program history but the first since 2015.
Led by freshman ace pitcher Sam Zimmerman and several other standouts, Sobrato has enjoyed success by never looking ahead.
“It’s one of those things where everyday I have to keep reminding them it’s just one game at a time as they say it,” Bulldogs coach Dave Bauer said. “We have our goals of winning the next game, and that’s it. That’s the mentality we’re trying to have.”
So far it’s working. Speaking of focus, that’s one way to describe Zimmerman, who pitched a complete-game, five-inning shutout in the mercy-rule victory over Christopher. She was also a force at the plate, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs, including a two-run double.
Bauer is excited he’ll be able to watch Zimmerman not just for this season, but for the following three years as well.
“We’ve had a couple of good ones [pitchers] in the past, but she’s a freshman and she’s going to get even taller and stronger,” Bauer said. “And you saw today [vs. Christopher] she can hit. She is just dominating and I think she’s hitting well above .600 now, even outside of league. She’s been a horse so far this year and dominating when we’ve needed her to. It’s really exciting to have her and she’s only going to get better, so exciting times for the future.”
Bauer said Zimmerman has a certain edge and tenacity that is befitting of the school’s mascot name.
“We played Pacific Grove (April 22) and she was pitching really well,” Bauer said. “Then there were a couple of things that went against her and you could see she’s just getting really upset at the overall situation and she comes in even stronger. And it’s really something neat to see. We made a comment on it that she let the bulldog out, so it was kind of cool to see.”
Raylene Cruz had a huge day, going 3-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBI. Alexis Bueno went 2-for-2 with two RBI, and freshman Sunny Fernandez drove in two runs. Bauer utilizes more players than most other coaches due to his deep and talented roster that has standouts at every grade level.
“My job has been to make sure I balance playing time and we’ve done a good job with that so far,” he said. “They’re all contributing, but Raylene especially, Annah (Vasquez) and Jordan (Bouton). Jordan is having a great season as a freshman so when we go to league awards and present all of them, I’m going to have a fun time knowing in every year’s category, I’ve got really good stats for these players.”
The Bulldogs own non-league wins over A-league teams Los Gatos and Live Oak, which bodes well for a strong seed in the Central Coast Section playoffs, which start in a couple of weeks.
“We’re doing well in league and well out of league,” Bauer said. “Hopefully it continues.”