Local softball players singled out by Cal-Hi Sports

Etiwanda High School softball player Vanessa Taukeiaho, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Player of the Year, Thursday, June 16, 2016. Taukeiaho is committed to play next year at the University of Oklahoma. (Photo by John Valenzuela/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

The season may be long over but Cal-Hi Sports just released its All-State softball teams and several locals were among those recognized.

Etiwanda was the most recognized of the local teams as senior outfielder Vanessa Taukeiaho and senior first baseman Megan Stevens both were named to the first team while pitcher Briana Wheeler and outfielder Candace Haliburton, also both seniors, were third team honorees.

Taukeiaho, earlier named the Daily Bulletin Player of the year,  led the state in home runs with 20 while hitting .640 with 56 RBI.

CIF champion Grand Terrace also had multiple players honored with pitcher Melanie Olmos, who like Taukeiaho has signed with Oklahoma, making first team and junior Eliyah Flores named to the second.

Other first team selections included junior shortstop Taylon Snow of Chino hills and senior catcher Kelly Martinez of Yucaipa.

Here is the link to the entire team selected for those interested.

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Baseline League honors: Softball

Etiwanda’s Vanessa Taukeiaho celebrates her three-run homer to win the game against Chino Hills in the bottom of the seventh inning at Etiwanda High. 
Jennifer Cappuccio Maher - Staff Photographer

Vanessa Taukeiaho, Sr., OF, Etiwanda
Megan Stevens, Sr., 1B, Etiwanda

First team
Eileen Barrera, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga
Dakota Casper, Jr., St. Lucy’s
Hailey Freeman, Sr., Etiwanda
Samantha Garcia, Soph., St. Lucy’s
Katie Greep, Soph., St. Lucy’s
Lauren Gutierrez, Jr., Upland
Candace Haliburton, Sr., Etiwanda
Julia Jimenez, Fr., Etiwanda
Tyler King, Jr., Upland
Alyssa Martinez, Soph., Chino Hills
Jessica McNicholl, Sr., Los Osos
Marisa Mendoza, Sr., Chino Hills
Taylon Snow, Jr., Chino Hills
Briana Wheeler, Sr., Etiwanda
Karah Wiseman, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga

Second team
Deanna Alarcon, Sr., St. Lucy’s
Samantha Diaz, Jr., Rancho Cucamonga
Alussia Duarte, Jr., Upland
Raeleen Gutierrez, Fr., St. Lucy’s
Tianna Harris, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga
Brooke Johnson, Fr., Chino Hills
Tyani Lowe, Soph., Upland
Felicia Noriega, Sr., Etiwanda
Aubriee Olson, Soph., Los Osos
Mikayla Rubin, Jr., Chino Hills
Kayleen Schneider, Soph., Chino Hills
Audrey Sellers, Fr., St. Lucy’s
Alyssa Thayer, Jr., Etiwanda
Marissa Valdivinos, Sr., St. Lucy’s
Reese Vargas, Soph., Chino Hills
Annika Villegas, Sr., Etiwanda

Etiwanda’s Megan Stevens (#12) fields a throw against Los Osos during the third inning of Baseline League softball game at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Ca, (Photo by John Valenzuela/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

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Etiwanda’s Vanessa Taukeiaho earns USA Today All-American honor

Etiwanda’s Vanessa Taukeiaho celebrates her three-run homer to win the game against Chino Hills in the bottom of the seventh inning at Etiwanda High. 
Jennifer Cappuccio Maher - Staff Photographer

Senior outfielder Vanessa Taukeiaho of Etiwanda High School was one of just 10 players nationwide named to USA Today’s All-American first team.

Taukeiaho, who has signed with Oklahoma, hit .640 (64 for-100) with 15 doubles, 2 triples, 20 home runs, 56 RBI and 54 runs scored. She boasted a slugging percentage of 1.430 and an on-base percentage of .692.

Taukeiaho was only held off base in a game twice all year and she had at least one extra-base hit in 24 of 32 games.

Here is the link to the players chosen:

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Etiwanda stays No. 1 in CIF Division 1 softball poll

Here are the CIF softball polls for the week of April 11:

Division 1 – 1. Etiwanda; 2. Los Alamitos; 3. West Ranch; 4. Huntington Beach; 5. Mater Dei; 6. Orange Lutheran; 7. ML King; 8. Rosary; 9. Upland; 10. Norco.

Division 2 – 1. Mission Viejo; 2. La Habra; 3. Oaks Christian; 4. Newbury Park; 5. Glendora; 6. Valley View; 7. Brea Olinda; 8. Camarillo; 9. Aliso Niguel; 10. Agoura.

Division 3 – 1. Bishop Amat; 2. Gahr; 3. Grand Terrace; 4. Redondo Union; 5. Burbank Burroughs; 6. Laguna Hills; 7. Beckman; 8. Alemany; 9. St. Joseph; 10. Whittier.

Division 4 – 1. Torrance; 2. Dos Pueblos; 3. North Torrance; 4. La Quinta; 5. Temescal Canyon; 6. Buena; 7. Knight; 8. Beverly Hills; 9. Linfield Christian; 10. El Segundo.

Division 5 – 1. St. Bonaventure; 2. Louisville; 3. Garden Grove; 4. Lompoc Cabrillo. 5. San Dimas; 6. Silverado; 7. La Reina; 8. Templeton; 9. Edgewood; 10. Flintridge Sacred Heart.

Division 6 – 1. Paraclete; 2 Savanna; 3. St. Anthony; 4. Downey Cavalry Chapel; 5. Shadow Hills; 6. Sierra Canyon; 7. Oxford Aca.; 8. Webb; 9. Windward; 10. Chadwick.

Division 7 – 1. Rolling Hills Prep; 2. ACE; 3. University Prep; 4. Faith Baptist; 5. Santa Clara; 6. Nuview Bridge; 7. Archer; 8. Burbank Providence; 9. Foothill Tech; 10. Public Safety Aca.

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Etiwanda wins memorial softball tournament

Etiwanda team

The Etiwanda softball team hosted and won the first Dana Housley Memorial Tournament over the weekend with games held on the new field at Etiwanda as well as at Los Osos.

The event was held in honor of the former student-athlete who passed away in May after collapsing at a weekend travel ball tournament.

The field consisted of 12 teams but Eagles coach and athletic director Dave Masucci expects the field to double next season.

“We started organizing this a little late and most schools already had contracts for other tournaments and games,” he said. “I have been overwhelmed by the number of coaches that want to get in for next year.”

Etiwanda went 5-0 in the event, defeating Summit in the semifinal and Norco in the championship game.

Proceeds from the event will go toward a scholarship in the former players’ name an her family will pick the recipient of that scholarship. They were on hand for the event festivities at the tournament.

There will also be a 12-team junior varsity event as part of the tournament that starts today.


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Etiwanda’s Candace Haliburton makes college decision

Etiwanda High School softball standout Candace Haliburton has decided she’ll attend Howard University in Washington D.C.

She hasn’t made an official visit yet. That will come in January. But she has visited the school, doing so her freshman year while on a family trip for the presidential inauguration.

Haliburton, a speedy outfielder, was also considering Tennessee State and Hampton University.  She plans to major in education.

“I am very excited about the opportunity,” she said. “They really wanted me to play for them and I think it will be a great place to be.”

Haliburton helped the Eagles to a 24-9 record and second-place showing in the Baseline League behind Chino Hills last year as a junior. She hit .296 with an on-base percentage of .367. She had 15 RBI, 27 runs scored, 5 doubles, a triple and a home run.

This will be her fourth year on the varsity squad.

Howard was 14-29 overall last year and competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

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Etiwanda freshman Julia Jimenez commits to Michigan softball

Etiwanda freshman Julia Jimenez announced on Twitter that she has committed to play at the University of Michigan.

Jimenez received the offer from the Wolverines before even starting her first season as a member of the Eagles softball team. IMG_0766.JPG

“It’s definitely overwhelming. It’s an honor and very humbling,” she explained in an email. “I am glad to see all my hard work and dedication pay off. The road only gets harder from here and now I have to work twice as hard.”

Jimenez, who was being recruited as a shortstop, stated that she also had full ride scholarship offers from Louisville and Texas A&M.

“It has been very exciting and stressful at the same time but it is a good stress at least,” said Gloria Jimenez, the mother of Julia.

Despite only being a freshman, she believes Michigan is the right place for her.

“It is a well balanced school,” Julia said. “All of the athletics, the education and the coaching staff.”

She made her verbal commitment over the phone with Carol Hutchins, the Wolverines’ softball coach.

“She said she would be honored to be my coach,”  Jimenez said. “She referred to me as a Wolverine and told me it is not about the size, but it’s the fight.”

Gloria believes the game of softball has really helped her daughter grow into the person she has become.

“It has really made her focus on her education, it has taught her life lessons and how to overcome failure,” Gloria said. “It has made her a stronger minded young lady and she is extremely confident on and off the field.”

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Locals named to CalHi Sports Underclass softball team

As usual, several players earned special recognition from CalHi Sports which released its All-Underclass team.

Remember this is a particularly elite list since it consists of players from all divisions throughout the entire talent-laden state.

The first team list included these locals from the Daily Bulletin/Sun coverage area:

Taylon Snow of Chino Hills was the 2014 State Freshman of the Year and has committed to Washington, where she plans to reunite with recently graduated sister Tannon Snow (also a multiple all-state underclass pick). Photo: FloSoftball.com.

C Kelly Martinez, Jr., Yucaipa
INF Eliyah Flores, Soph., Grand Terrace
INF Megan Stevens, Jr., Etiwanda
OF Taylon Snow, Soph., Chino Hills
OF Vanessa Taukeiaho, Jr., Etiwanda

Second team selections included:

Melanie Olmos, Soph., Grand Terrace

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Etiwanda freshman Dana Housley passes away

Etiwanda softball standout Dana Housley has passed away, Eagles coach Dave Masucci confirmed.

Embedded image permalink

Housley, 15, was competing in a travel ball game with the California Thunder on Saturday in Fontana and had an aneurysm while at bat in the final inning. Medical personnel hurried to the scene and she was rushed to Kaiser Permanente where she had remained on life support ever since.

Masucci said Housley was a promising young player, so much so that she had seen some time on the varsity squad despite being just a freshman. Much of her season was on the junior varsity but he had planned to bring her up for the playoff run.

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The Eagles took to the field in her honor on Tuesday but lost a playoff game at Murrieta Valley 4-2. Players from both teams wore bows in their hair with her No. 21 on them. There were several posters

An outpouring of support for Housley, her family and the Etiwanda community has been evident. There were remembrances of her at games all over Southern California on Tuesday.

A GoFundMe account to help the family has already generated more than $56,000. Here is a link to that if you want to help.


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Etiwanda softball team falls 4-2 but thoughts are still with teammate

The Etiwanda High School softball team took to the field against Murrieta Valley in a first round playoff game today. But all were still thinking about freshman first baseman Dana Housley who had a brain aneurysm while at bat late in a travel game on Saturday.

Murrieta Valley prevailed 4-2 to move on to the quarterfinal. Etiwanda ends its season 24-9.

It was a pretty somber team that filed into the dugout an hour before the game. There were few words spoken.

It wasn’t until the third inning or so that the girls seemed to get focused on the game. They hit some balls hard which seemed to give then some confidence after the Nighthawks got a 2-run home run in the first.

After the game players struggle more with their emotions, many breaking down in the post-game huddle. But they handled themselves well and felt the support of the extended softball community.

Here’s what both coaches had to say about playing under the tough circumstances:

VIDEO: Etiwanda coach Dave Masucci.

VIDEO: Murrieta Valley coach Sean Parks.

See more expressions of support here for Dana

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