Kiyah Vasquez celebrates her home run that helped Sobrato to a win against Live Oak March 27. Photo: Jonathan Natividad

They placed a mountain in front of Sobrato softball this year and the Bulldogs are climbing it. A successful 2023 season moved Sobrato up one level in the Blossom Valley Athletic League division hierarchy. But with significant senior graduations, it would be a different Sobrato squad in 2024. Could they survive against the tougher competition in the Mt. Hamilton Division?

They certainly can. Coach Dave Bauer’s team is having a great season, with an impressive 9-4 mark in league play, and a fine 14-6 overall record. The Bulldogs are in a virtual third-place tie with Branham, putting them in excellent position for a bid to the Central Coast Section playoffs.

Gilroy and Willow Glen are on top, each with just two defeats. The Bulldogs and Bruins each have four losses, with Leland in fifth with six, while Santa Teresa has seven. The top four teams in the league will get automatic bids to post-season play. With three loop contests remaining in the regular season, Sobrato is in good shape, though they must take care of business from here on out.

“This is a rebuilding year,” Bauer said. “We lost six starting seniors and moved up. We knew it would be a challenge. We’ve got Kiyah (Vasquez); she’s a very talented player. Along with Sam (Zimmerman), our pitcher. She is just a sophomore. Raylene Cruz is doing very well. But we thought we might be .500 at best. They have really exceeded expectations.”

Catcher Sunny Fernandez pairs with Zimmerman to form the battery. The infield features Cruz, Zoe Rodriguez, Brooklyn Amato and Alyssa Nava. Back in the outfield are Graciella Marchan, Vasquez and Jordan Bouton.

Vasquez leads Sobrato in most offensive categories. The senior has 26 hits in 63 at-bats for a .413 average, along with 20 RBIs and four homers. Amato is hitting .320, with an on-base percentage of .521. She has 18 runs scored and 19 stolen bases. Cruz is hitting .328 with 13 RBIs and Stella Ferrante is hitting .304.

The Bulldogs have found success by consistently holding opponents down via pitching and defense. League victories include 11-1 and 9-1 over Westmont, 4-1 and 10-9 over Leland, 3-1 over Leigh, 4-2 versus Santa Teresa, 4-1 against Branham and 5-1 and 2-1 against rival Live Oak.

“We usually have a lot of energy,” Vasquez said. “We try to jump on teams early, (and) rely on our hitting and getting on base and our baserunning.”

On April 26, they followed up a hard loss to Gilroy with a dramatic 2-1 win over the Acorns of Live Oak. Fernandez ripped the walk-off single to capture the city matchup. Once again, Sobrato won a close game.

Six of the nine league wins are of that variety. In those, Sobrato has scored between three and five runs, while allowing just one run five times and two in the other.

“Sam pitches to contact,” Bauer said. “We’ve got a good defense and we try to win low-scoring games.”

Coming soon are Leigh on May 1, Santa Teresa on May 8 and Branham on May 10.

Zimmerman, Sobrato’s starting pitcher last year as a freshman, will be in the circle. Vasquez has come in for relief in several games, though she is usually in center field and can also play shortstop.

Last year’s Bulldogs finished 19-4, 8-0 in BVAL, Santa Teresa East play. In the CCS Division 1 playoffs, Sobrato won a 13-12 extra-inning thriller over Wilcox and then lost to Westmont in the semifinals. This year’s team features just three seniors, with a solid mix from the other grades.

“We’re a very young team,” Bauer said. “Our goal is to get into CCS and we’re almost there.”

Sobrato junior infielder Brooklyn Amato turns a double play against Live Oak March 27. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
Sobrato sophomore pitcher Sam Zimmerman, pictured during a March 27 game against Live Oak, has been outstanding so far this season. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
Previous articleAs May approaches, Cal Fire offers fire prevention tips
Next articleHealth & Wellness Resource Fair returns to Morgan Hill


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here