Since taking over the helm for the MJC Pirates sofball program, Coach Donaldson has yet to complete a full season due to the constant and ever-changing COVID restrictions. That all has the potential to change this year as the Pirates have a full 40 game schedule in place including 24 games in the powerful Big 8 Conference. "It is amazing that going into my third year as head coach, my team has never seen the fields at American River College, Sacramento City College, Sierra College and Cosumnes River College." said Donaldson. "I am really crossing fingers that this Omicron variant ends soon and that all teams stay safe and don't have many cancellations."
The Pirates graduated several starters from last years team including 13 game winner Emmilee Boles from the circle. Also the infield lost Cheyenne Juarez, Taylor Brewer, Kaycee Creek, Aubrey Garcia, as well as Alyssa Donaldson and Steel Shumway. The outfield will also be different as Morgan Keeney, Angelica Bernal and Dashanae Parker departed to make way for more players.
The Pirates retain only two players from last years team: super sophomore shortstop Jana Fontana will lead the infield and Trinity Ortiz, one of MJC's top hitters from a year ago will try to repeat a stellar year at the plate.
Key newcomers for the season will be CJ Baxter and Kara Pittel (Enochs HS), Kalissa Martin and Kiana Briseno (Manteca HS), Bianca Albarran and Cece Childers (Johansen HS), Nayeli Pelayo and Alexis Parra (Pacheco HS), Debbie Torres (Orestimba HS), Larynne Holland (Hilmar HS)Bethanie Thornberry (Ceres HS), McKenna Daley (Ripon HS), Emily Cabral (Millineum HS), Jessica Mingay (Rio Vista HS), Hailey Hunter (Lathrop HS), Janelle Barrera (East Union HS)
Pitchers Baxter, Pittel, Cabral and Thornberry will allow the Pirates the ability to rotate a pitching staff, something they did not have last year.
The infield will feature Fontana a three year Pirate due to COVID and newcomer Daley an infielder that transfered from Dominican University. Battling for the corner will be the test, showing batting power from several players including Albarran, Ramos, Holland and Barrera.
Outfield has tons of talent that has speed and an ability to be interchangeable in this position. Ortiz, Martin, Pittel, Briseno can all play the position well and add Alexis Parra a transfer from Goshen University and the Pirates have put together a very tough offense and defense.
"This is the first year I have had where positions can change from game to game and we don't lose the ability to succeed. With the fear of COVID reaching our dugout, it is nice to have 18 talented players just in case we lose a player for a week or two to recover." Donaldson stated.
We are extermely looking forward to this season.