By GERARDO RECINOS
It’s hard to argue that the last four years of Alhambra softball haven’t been the school’s most successful. In fact they’ve been some of the best in the Bay Area and California.
Three straight titles doesn’t just happen, and the four young ladies honored on Wednesday night were all at the heart of the golden period.
Bri Perez, Karlee Sparacino, Kimiko Zapanta and Maci Shepherd all signed National Letters of Intent on Nov. 16, (purely for ceremonial purposes, real L.O.I. were signed on Nov. 9) to their respective universities.
Perez made her commitment to UCLA a long time ago, while Sparacino had previously made a verbal commitment to Oregon before shifting to UC Berkeley. Zapanta, a transfer from Clayton Valley Charter will be attending Saint Mary’s College and Shepherd will be attending Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.
Perez and Sparacino have both claimed Most Valuable Player awards in their high school careers, as well as three North Coast Section titles. Shepherd was apart of two of those titles, while Zapanta was only apart of last year’s title win.
Perez: She has hit a stunning .560, with 25 home runs and 119 RBIs. Her 72 stolen bases and 1.725 on base plus slugging in that time period led to her most recent accolade. Perez was invited to participate in the Junior United States Women’s National Team. She is the only player in the North Coast Section to have been invited, and will join Sorcerer’s travel softball teammate and future UCLA teammate Holly Azevedo as the only other Northern California invitee.
Sparacino: Was one of the finalists for Ms. Softball last summer, goes into her senior season having won the final Diablo Foothill Athletic League MVP award. She lead the team in RBIs, and broke a record set by Kylee Perez with 57 RBIs in her junior season.
Her .620 batting average, and 49 hits rallied the Bulldogs to another title. She had two RBIs in the NCS title game in June.
Zapanta: Is the player who has spent least amount of time with the Bulldogs, but she made a big impact in her first season. The spark plug at the top of the lineup, the speedy slapper hit at a clip of .481 and scored 42 runs while stealing 38 bases. Prior to coming to the Bulldogs she hit .625 as a freshman at Clayton Valley, and .554 as a sophomore. Zapanta’s commitment to Saint Mary’s College came before she officially became a Bulldog last fall.
Shepherd: She took on the difficult role of catching hard-throwing Shelby Clemons as a sophomore and went on to feature in 22 games in 2014-2015. A good ball-blocker behind the dish, Shepherd will be expected to catch a younger pitching staff than in recent years for the Bulldogs. She saw limited time behind the dish in 2015-2016, but used her extra at-bats to double her batting average from her sophomore to junior years.
Shepherd had 107 putouts as a sophomore and didn’t make a single error behind the plate.