ROCKVILLE — Going for its eighth straight Bay Valley Conference championship, the Solano Community College softball team gets the 2013 season under way at the College of San Mateo, Tuesday.
“We have a very difficult (preseason) schedule, all ranked opponents,” said Solano coach Terri Pearson-Bloom. “We’re playing for the postseason, trying to establish our seeding position and that really helps us to prepare.”
To get to the postseason, however, the Falcons need to win in the BVC, and with a sophomore-heavy roster, that possibility is very real.
“We’ve got a good returning group this year, more sophomores than freshmen, which is nice – and rare,” Pearson-Bloom said. “We’re looking to repeat and go for that conference championship and do what we can to keep the streak alive.”
To that end, the Falcons have a three-pitcher rotation this year, providing some starting depth in the circle they haven’t had in years.
“We have a three-pitcher rotation and they’re all going to play,” Pearson-Bloom said.
Rachel Sponsler and Courtney Williams both return from last seasons’s team and are joined by freshman Alicia Selden (Armijo)
“She’s going to be great,” Pearson-Bloom said of the freshman. “All three are going to get a ton of time. It’s going to be a great rotation.”
Even though all three are right-handers, they are different enough to provide variety.
Among a handful of four-year transfers, is catcher Autumn Price, who should be behind the dish most of the season.
Stephanie Chainurux returns at third base and in the No. 3 spot in the batting order.
“She’s an incredible athlete, she’s got pop and she’s very athletic,” Pearson-Bloom said.
Leadoff hitter Britney Taglieri is back after a year at Sonoma State. A lefty with speed and power, Pearson-Bloom said she expects Taglieri to be one of the best hitters in the conference.
At second base, sophomore Dana Manibusan – a red shirt last season – returns to the lineup. She’s another lefty swinging hitter with some speed.
Sophomore Joanna Searle will compete for time at first base with freshman from Corri Bisio from College Park High of Pleasant Hill.
In the outfield, the Falcons have 2012 All-Nor-Cal honoree Darian Quist-Richard in center and anchoring the lineup.
In left Solano has another transfer from Sonoma State, Bianca Brau and in right Dana Rivera (Fairfield) will platoon with Selden when the latter isn’t pitching.
“It’s a very athletic group this year,” Pearson-Bloom said. “What we don’t have is a lot of depth, so hopefully we stay healthy.”
In addition to her returning sophomores, Pearson-Bloom is glad to have some players returning from the four-year level.
“We’re really lucky we got some transfer backs,” she said. “Taglieri is a five-tool kid, a great player. I recruited the heck out of her out of high school and I didn’t get her.”
In addition to returning players and transfers, the Falcons also have three red shirts returning.
“We were very young last year. It’s nice to be older this year,” Pearson-Bloom said.
Looking ahead to BVC play, the coach said there may be some challenges in winning an eight straight title.
“Yuba’s returning a great pitcher this year, so they’ll be tough to beat,” Pearson-Bloom said. “They always are the team that thwarts our undefeated season. Twice in the last three years they’ve given us our only loss.”
Key for the Falcons are just not to make mistakes and stay relatively injury free, according to Pearson-Bloom.
“Then we’ll see,” she said. “You don’t know until you know.”
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.