Coaches and players from the 5A Southern champion Sunnyside High School softball team celebrated on Wednesday their season and took part in interviews with myself and my brother Andy about their successful 23-10-1 season, including a 9-0 region record, at Wings Over Broadway at Camino Seco.
The Blue Devils advanced to the quarterfinals before losing in the elimination bracket to Lake Havasu on May 10.
Pete Palomarez, in his 29th year as Sunnyside’s coach, coached a team with only three seniors and a freshman class that included ace pitcher Tatyana Vega (17-4 with a 2.34 ERA including 185 strikeouts and 59 walks in 143 2/3 innings). Vega also batted .439 with a team-leading five home runs and 44 RBIs.
First baseman Soleil Ponce, daughter of recently-appointed Sunnyside principal Stephanie Ponce, was another top freshman who batted .316 with 10 RBIs.
The senior captains were infielders Briannay Galvez, who has signed with Adams State, and Damonique Escalante. Victoria Medina was another senior standout who batted .382.
Other top players include junior third baseman Natalya Rivera (team-best .464 batting average with 11 doubles and 27 RBIs), sophomore centerfielder Lauryn Carbajal (.427 with eight doubles and 30 RBIs), junior utility players Hilaria Burruel (.378) and Alyssa Lopez (.348) and sophomore catcher Amerika Lopez (.299).
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.