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Yuba College softball ready for 2013
49ers stacked with local talent
Last season, Rachel Quinn stepped into the pitcher's circle for the Yuba College softball team more out of necessity than anything.
Quinn thought her pitching career was a thing of the past. She was an all-conference and A-D All-Area pitcher for River Valley High, but almost quit the sport altogether because she said it wasn't fun anymore.
Quinn pitched just five innings her senior season with the Falcons in 2011 and was ready to turn in her spikes for good when she stepped on to the Yuba College campus.
That was until 49ers coach Stephanie Reynolds convinced Quinn just how much she was needed by the softball program.
"I pretty much lost the love for it," Quinn said. "Last season, I started (pitching) again and fell back in love with the game, so it's been pretty cool.
"I wanted to have fun playing the game again, and I found that out here."
The 49ers had a lot of fun in 2012 as they made the postseason for the third time in school history and finished in second place in the Bay Valley Conference with a 17-3 mark.
Quinn was a huge reason the Niners accomplished all of that as she rediscovered herself as a pitcher, tossing 2042⁄3 innings with a 1.88 ERA.
A first team All-BVC selection, Quinn struck out 171 batters and finished with a 21-12 record. She also led Yuba with 33 RBIs and batted .305.
The goals have been set even higher by the 49ers in 2013 as they hope to knock off Solano at the top of the BVC and claim the conference title.
To get there, the 49ers are working out the early kinks as they dropped a matinée with visiting Santa Rosa Junior College 2-0 on Tuesday in a nonleague matchup.
In a complete-game effort, Quinn threw 93 pitches and allowed just four hits, walked one and struck out five.
The only trouble the right-hander got into came in the top of the fourth inning.
With runners on first and second and one out, Quinn threw a wild pitch, which allowed both runners to advance. She induced a popout for the second out, but couldn't escape unscathed as Santa Rosa's Courtney Lucchesi ripped a double down the third-base line to knock in the only runs of the game.
"Rachel battled today," Reynolds said. "They just happened to get three of their four hits in the same inning. We just couldn't put anything together behind her."
Yuba (2-2) could only amass four hits off of Santa Rosa starter Megan Winters, who struck out six, including the last three batters of the game in the bottom of the seventh.
The 49ers threatened with runners on second and third and two outs in the bottom of the fifth, but came up empty. Winters retired the final seven batters of the game in order.
"I just felt we didn't make adjustments today," Reynolds said. "We just have to know what our job is in situations with runners in scoring position — I think that's a mental approach to the game we need to work on."
Of the 12 players on Yuba's roster, 11 hail from Mid-Valley prep softball programs. Four starters are back this season in Quinn, catcher Dylanne Brown (Lindhurst), outfielder Shae Cooney (Yuba City) and outfielder/pitcher McKenzie Kraus (Marysville).
Freshmen include shortstop Sierra Lehman, an East Nicolaus product who transferred in from Southern Oregon University and Wheatland product Ashley Gilmore, a Sierra College transfer, who plays center field.
Rounding out the roster are 2012 A-D Athlete of the Year Jacky Tanner (River Valley), third baseman Taylor Crabb (Wheatland), first baseman Maggie Ulman (Wheatland), Taylor Montgomery (Sutter), Maddie Cooper (River Valley) and Melissa Annis (Nevada Union).
"It's nice to have a solid returning group and to bring in such a great freshman group," Reynolds said. "We have a lot of confidence this year."
Yuba travels to Sacramento City College on Saturday for a doubleheader with the Panthers and College of the Redwoods.