VACAVILLE — Cal-Hi Sports released its all-state teams package on Wednesday and Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion Vacaville was extremely well represented.
Shortstop Julia DePonte, who missed her junior season in 2013 because of a knee injury, was named to the Cal-High Sports All-State first team, while pitcher Katie Kibby was chosen State Sophomore of the Year and was named to the overall All-State second team and to the All-State Underclass first team.
“Oh, I think, if there’s anyone so deserving of that title (of all-state) it’s those two,” Vacaville coach Liz Sauerwein said.
In helping the Bulldogs go 29-1-1 and win the fourth SJS softball title in school history and first in nine years, DePonte led the team in batting (.516), RBIs (39, doubles (9), triples (7), home runs (7) and stolen bases (21 in 22 attempts), according to Maxpreps.com.
“Julia just put in the work, put in the time, put in the effort,” Sauerwein said. “Coming off knee surgery, she wanted to have a great year. She put the practice hours in. She worked on and off the field . . . she played so great.”
DePonte had shown that greatness her first two seasons with the Bulldogs, batting .533 as a freshman and .474 as a sophomore.
“She couldn’t play her junior year, it was so sad to see,” Sauerwein said. “She loves the game so much. She wants to be part of the game anyway she can.This is the kind of year she needed and she earned (the all-state honor).”
Kibby started the season 28-0 before suffering her only setback in a 3-2 loss to Pleasant Grove in the first SJS title game. She immediately followed that up with a five-hit shutout in the 3-0 title-clinching victory.
She finished the season 29-1 with 233 strikeouts and a 0.62 earned run average in 202 innings, allowing just 108 hits and 42 walks.
“Her performance in the circle, her pitching performance this year, you don’t see that very often, especially from a sophomore,” Sauerwein said. “She was so dominant, just tough to hit. You don’t see that from someone her age.”
The coach doesn’t expect the honors to stop for either player. She sees big things in both of their futures.
“I see nothing but success,” Sauerwein said. “I see Julia definitely making a statement at Washington, she’s going to make a name for herself.
“I see Katie – and it’s going to be hard – improving on the year she had. She’s going to get better and better. I’m excited for both players. Julia’s at a D-I school and Katie’s putting the program on the map.”
Vacaville wound up ranked first in the SJS, third in Division I and Northern California, and fifth in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, fifth in the state and 11th in the nation by Maxpreps.com, and 12th in the Xcellent 25 Writer’s Poll.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.