FAIRFIELD — City high school softball teams have often been blessed with solid pitchers who were also terrors at the plate.
Jenni Martinez, Melissa Logan and Amber Smith of Fairfield, Andriana Collins of Rodriguez and the legendary Anjelica Selden of Vanden are among those who readily come to mind.
The most recent addition to that list is Vanden’s Rochelle Roberts, who was a 20-game winner and a .500 hitter last season for the Vikings.
For her outstanding season, for which she was named to the Cal-High Sports All-State second team, Roberts is the Daily Republic’s 2013 Female Athlete of the Year.
“From my eyes, from what I’ve seen of her, when you see her in a game, the way she plays, she’s talented but she knows how to play the game,” Vanden coach Don Wakefield said earlier this year. “She does the little things.”
And lots of big ones. Roberts batted .565 with 52 hits, 36 RBIs, 35 runs scored, six doubles, seven triples and three home runs.
She was also 21-7 with a 0.96 earned run average with 215 strikeouts and just 20 walks in 168 innings as a pitcher.
“I’m not a big stat guy, but when I sit down to do the all-league stuff, I’ll be like, ‘Wow, did she do this?’ ” Wakefield said as the 2013 season was winding down. “To actually sit down and see it on paper, it’s huge.”
The numbers weren’t a surprise to Roberts. Neither was the success of the team, which included finishing second in the Solano County Athletic Conference and fourth in the Division II of the Sac-Joaquin Section.
“It’s definitely something to expect,” Roberts said. “We set goals at the beginning of the year, so it’s an achievement. You wouldn’t expect any less than the year before.”
“She’s brings a lot to the game other than just on the mound,” Wakefield said. “Her offense is fantastic. When we get in situations she tightens up even more. She knows what to do. . . . She just knows how to play the game.”
After starting all four seasons for the Vikings, it was hard to take off the green and gold uniform for the final time.
“This whole year has been pretty emotional. It is my last year here and I have a lot to miss,” Roberts said toward the end of the 2013 season. “My coaches, I’ve become really close with my coaches over the years. . . . We’re a family and I wouldn’t be here without my team. It is really emotional.”
But Roberts’ playing days are far from over. She’s on the roster of the University of Louisiana-Monroe softball team as an outfielder.
“There’s no doubt in my mind she’s going to tear it up, she’s going to hit at that level,” Wakefield said. “No doubt in my mind she’s going to do great. . . . She hits with authority, it’s on the line, its on a button. It’s not a fluke.”
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.