The 2016 California Community College Athletic Association State Softball Championships is set for this weekend at the Dean and Ada Gay Sports Complex on the campus of Bakersfield College. The CCCAA will crown its 39th State Champion this weekend where two teams from the North (#1 College of San Mateo and #3 Sacramento City College) and two teams from the South (#1 Cypress College and #2 Santiago Canyon College) will vie for the title.
The state tournament is set to be streamed LIVE by SoCal College Sports. Links to the games can be found on the Schedules Page.
About the Teams
College of San Mateo – North #1 Seed
The Bulldogs head into the 2016 State Championships with the longest active State Championship appearance streak, as they make the come back to Bakersfield for the fourth straight season and 10th overall. Last year, San Mateo was the bridesmaid as they pushed eventual State Champion Palomar College to the brink, before falling in the "if game" 5-1 to the Comets. The 2nd place finish by San Mateo, was their highest in program history. Four of the young women who started last year's State Championship game, return with the Bulldogs this season.
San Mateo won the 2016 Coast Conference North Division going 11-1 in conference play. The Bulldogs finished the regular season 36-3 overall, with all three losses coming on the road. They currently lead the State in wins at 41, after sweeping through the post-season with a perfect 5-0 record. The Bulldogs entered the post-season as the #1 overall seed in Northern California, defeating #16 Napa Valley College 8-3 and 14-0 in the regional round. San Mateo would then go on to host one of two Super Regionals in NorCal, opening up with a 21-0 win over Cabrillo College. In the semi-final, the Bulldogs got a walk-off RBI single to Christy Peterson in the bottom of the eighth inning to pull out a 4-3 win over Cosumnes River College. That followed that up the next day with a 6-4 victory over Sierra College to punch their ticket to Bakersfield College.
The Bulldogs boast the State Player of the Year (Harlee Donovan, and four All-State Players in Morgan Jones, Samantha Dean, Christy Peterson, and Jordan Davis. San Mateo posted the third highest team average (.394), third highest on-base percentage (.457), and second highest slugging percentage (.579) in the State this year. Donovan finished 19th in the State individually in batting average (.454), but led the State in on-base percentage (.590), and was third in slugging (1.008), hitting a State leading 17 bombs, 15 doubles, and three triples, while driving in 44 runs. In the circle Morgan Jones and Samantha Dean formed a formidable 1-2 punch. Jones went 20-1 with a 1.25 ERA and 49 K's, while Dean was 12-1 with a pair of saves, a 1.45 ERA and 45 more strikeouts to her name.
Cypress College – South #1 Seed
The Chargers are no strangers to the third weekend in May, as they make they make their State record 25th appearance in the CCCAA State Championships. Cypress is also the owner of the CCCAA record for most Softball State Championships with eight, the last of which came in 2012, after they capped off their second three-peat in program history. The Chargers have five starters returning from last year's squad that finished 3rd in the State Championships.
Cypress won the 2016 Orange Empire Conference Championships with a perfect 21-0 mark in conference play. The Chargers won 35 regular season contests, and enter this weekend just a win behind San Mateo for the State lead in wins with 40 thus far on the year. Cypress took care of business in the playoffs, where they were the #1 overall seed in Southern California. The Chargers defeated Long Beach City College 4-2 and 12-0 in the opening round, before hosting a Super Regional in which they won 5-0 over Fullerton College, 4-0 over Cerritos College, and 3-2 over Palomar College after Jezz Portillo hit a walk-off single to center field making sure Cypress came back to Bakersfield.
Cypress is home to co-State Player of the Year Taylor Pierce, three All-State Players in Vanessa Ledesma, Justice Walker, and Tobi Salzman. In addition, long-time skipper Brad Pickler was named the Coach of the Year in the State. Offensively, Cypress comes into this weekend 8th in the State in batting average (.357), 9th in on-base percentage (.430), and 10th in slugging (.508). Pierce paces the offense with a .452 average, 41 RBIs, and 31 runs scored. She's also split time in the circle with Ledesma, posting a 1.90 ERA a 14-3 record, one save, and 85 strikeouts. Ledesma meanwhile has gone 22-2, with a save, a 1.81 ERA, and 57 strikeouts on the season.
Santiago Canyon College - #2 South Seed
When it comes to total State Championship appearances, Santiago Canyon College is the newcomer on the block this weekend as they make just their second bid in Bakersfield. That doesn't mean Head Coach Lisa Camarco and Co. aren't familiar with success, as they were here in Central California just two seasons ago in 2014, finishing in 3rd Place. Despite being a program that's been existence for a total of ten seasons, the Hawks have been to at least the Super Regionals each of the last four seasons.
Santiago Canyon College finished in second place in the Orange Empire Conference, behind SoCal #1 Cypress College. The Hawks went 15-6 in OEC play, going 32-7 in the regular season and grabbing the #2 seed in the Southern California playoffs. Santiago opened the playoffs with a pair of victories over Ventura College before hosting their own Super Regional last weekend. The Hawks took care of business through the first two games, defeating Santa Barbara City College 18-0 and Mt. San Antonio College 2-0. On Sunday though, the Mounties got Santiago for one beating them 10-2, to force a fourth and deciding contest. After being held to two runs in the early afternoon contest, the Hawks rallied with six, while pitcher Riley Nahrwold pitched a complete game six hitter in a 6-1 victory for Santiago Canyon College.
The Hawks had a pair of All-State selections in Emili Olague and Kaitlyn Lanksbury. Santiago had arguably the top offense in the State this season, ranking first in average (.405), first in on-base percentage (.460), and third in slugging (.577). Olague is the star of the offense, finishing third individually in the State in average (.500), second in on-base percentage (.582), and second in slugging (1.023), hitting a State leading 17 home runs and a driving in the third most RBIs in the State with 67. In the circle, Nahrworld anchors the rotation going 16-6 on the season and a 1.76 ERA.
Sacramento City College - #3 North Seed
The team with the second most appearances in the CCCAA State Championships are the Panthers, who are making their 23rd State Championship appearance. It's Sacramento City's first trip to Bakersfield though, as the Panthers haven't made it back this far since 2009, which was the last year, the State Championships was an eight-team tournament, and the last year the State Championships weren't hosted by Bakersfield College. The Panthers also have the third most State Championships in State history, with four State Championships to their name, the last of which came in 2004.
Sacramento City College won the always tough Big 8 Conference title with a 17-4 mark in 2016. The Panthers were 29-8-1 in the regular season and were slotted as the #3 overall seed in Northern California for the playoffs. Sacramento opened up the playoffs with a pair of tough wins over Shasta College 1-0 and then 5-4 in 12-innings. After hosting the opening round, the Panthers hit the road for the Super Regional hosted by NorCal #2 Fresno City College. In the opening game, Sacramento beat San Jose City College 8-0 in five innings, before knocking off their weekends host in the semi-finals 6-5. They followed that up on Sunday with another win over the Rams 2-0 to get back to the State Championships for the first time in seven years.
The Panthers had one All-State selection in Kali Sargent and one All-NorCal selection in Madison Butcoff. Sacramento enters the weekend ranked 23rdin the State in batting average (.320), 43rd in on-base percentage (.368), and 33rd in slugging (.415). Where the Panthers excel is in the circle where they rank 3rd in the State in ERA (1.45), 2nd in the State in strikeouts (6.56 K's per game), and 2nd in fewest total hits surrendered (188). Sargent played a large role in that, finishing 3rd in the State individually in ERA (1.25), second in the State in strikeouts (207), and fifth in the State in wins (24). Offensively, Butcoff paced Sacramento with a .414 average, 15 stolen bases, and 33 runs scored. Sargent wasn't bad at the plate herself, with a team leading 38 RBIs to go along with a .336 average.
How to Follow
The 2016 CCCAA State Softball Championships can be followed a number of different ways throughout this weekend. The first would be to attend in person at Bakersfield College, where general admission is $13 a day, and $9 for students, faculty, staff, senior citizens 60+, and children under 12 with identification. A tournament pass can also be purchased for $18. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time at Vallitix.com.
If you can't come join in person, you can also follow online. The 2016 State Championships will be broadcast live online, with Matt Folsom and Mike Zepeda (SoCal College Sports), calling the action. Live stats will also be available throughout the weekend. All links can be found on CCCAA Scoreboard just before the games.
Northern CA [Site A: College of San Mateo][Site B: Fresno City College]
Southern CA [Site A: Cypress College][Site B: Santiago Canyon College]
--- Courtesy of Andrew Wheeler, CCCSIA