By Aram Tolegian, staff writer
Softball is the sport in which the most area athletes earned college scholarships. Eleven of the area’s finest players signed letters of intent for schools ranging as close to home as Azusa Pacific University to as far away as West Point, N.Y.
St. Lucy’s pitcher Caroline Smith will attend Army after going through the difficult process of getting accepted to one of the country’s most distinguished military academies.
“Not only is it an honor to serve my country, but I think it’s the best opportunity I have to get a great education and set my path for the future,” Smith said. “I was looking at other schools in Boston and California, but this is probably the best one I’ve gotten an offer from.”
Bishop Amat will send a trio of softball players to college level play.
Brandy Galaviz (Charleston Southern), Victoria Saucedo (Utah State) and Alexis Gonzalez (Oregon State) made their plans official Wednesday.
“When I stepped on campus, the family atmosphere and how well the coaches made me feel made me choose Oregon State instead of other schools,” Gonzalez said. “Just to know that me and my (Amat) teammates are signing together and we’re all going to college makes it the more the merrier. We’ve been through everything together and they’ve been with me through it all – they’ve been my best friends since freshmen year.”
Rowland slugger Kaylea Snaer signed with South Carolina. Snaer hit a whopping .536 last year with 16 home runs. The Raiders won just five games, but there was no keeping her off the map of college recruiters.
“I went to South Carolina and compared it to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, and the people were great,” Snaer said. “I want to major in business and South Carolina is the No. 1 international business school and that’s what I was looking for.
“Of course, I don’t want to just go there for the sports.”
Other softball players to sign on Wednesday included Charter Oak’s Alison Strycula (Sonoma State) and Nicki Sprague (Azusa Pacific), Bonita’s Jazzlyn Costa (Azusa Pacific) and Corrina Liscano (Howard) and South Hills’ Abry Moreno (Azusa Pacific) and Lexi Robles (St. John’s).
Four area baseball players made their plans official, led by the Glendora duo of Scott Burke (UCLA) and Billy Sanford (Azusa Pacific). South Hills pitcher Adrian DeHorta earned his way to Cal-State Fullerton, where he will join the Titans’ pitching staff.
“The baseball tradition is huge there,” DeHorta said. “It’s close to home and my parents and brothers can always come by and watch a game. All the hard work and hours spent is paying off. There’s a long way to go and still a lot of hard work to put in.”
DeHorta was deciding between Fullerton, University of San Diego and San Diego State. But the Aztecs didn’t leave the Valley empty-handed after Nogales pitcher/catcher Erik Gonzalez signed on the dotted line.
“It’s a great school and they have a really good program there,” Gonzalez said. “San Diego State was pretty much my only option. I was getting letters from other people, but I really liked San Diego State.
“It’s a great feeling because not everyone has an opportunity like I do.”
The local area sent five girls volleyball standouts to the next level.
Chino Hills’ Shelley Anderson picked UC Irvine while just down the road Ayala’s Shannon Bell signed with Cal State Fullerton. St. Lucy’s Arden Davis will join Anderson at UC Irvine. San Dimas’ Jene Lee chose Sacred Heart University. Bishop Amat’s Samantha Quesada-Diaz will play her college ball at Pomona Pitzer.
La Verne Lutheran saw yet another player earn a scholarship when McKay Anderson signed with Southern Utah.
Gymnastics standout Desiree Palomares of San Dimas will attend Cal-Berkeley. West Covina girls tennis star Alexis Valenzuela signed with Cal State Fullerton.