ALL-NORTH COAST SECTION
Player of the Year
BRIANA PEREZ, ALHAMBRA
By NATE SMITH
Three straight North Coast Section titles, three straight years hitting .600 or better, nearly 150 runs batted in during her four-year career, and nearly 100 stolen bases are just a few of the tangibles one can associate with the illustrious high school career of UCLA-bound Briana Perez.
This season, Perez led an Alhambra team which transitioned to the Division I bracket due to competitive equity by-laws, and nearly led the Bulldogs past defending champion Freedom in the quarterfinals. Along the way, Alhambra won the DAL-Foothill title in the league’s inaugural season, while Perez finished the year batting .600 with six home runs, four triples, 11 doubles, 39 RBI, and 25 stolen bases.
“She is the easiest kid I have ever had to coach,” said Alhambra coach Paul Buccellato. “She has great knowledge of the game, tremendous work ethic, and was a three-year captain in this program. She was a true leader by example, someone who would the hill by our practice field 10 times after practice all by herself, while other girls might struggle to get up the hill one time.”
Perez, who is currently playing with the US Junior National team, will join older sister Kylee on the Bruins’ roster next season. The two played together when Bri was a freshman at Alhambra and Kylee was a senior, winning the first of the Bulldogs’ three straight section crowns. Even as a high school freshman, Bri was one of the dominant players in the section. Since then, however, her career took off to become one of the most decorated n section history.
The future Bruin finished her high school career with 31 home runs and 76 total extra-base hits. She also finished with 148 RBI and 96 stolen bases. Her career OPS is a staggering 1.746, also drawing 17 or more walks in each of her final three season. Then there is the defensive aspect; the standout shortstop turned eight double plays this season. All in all, it is hard to find as aspect of Perez’ game which does not stand out above her peers.
“She is probably the best kid to ever come through this program,” Buccellato said. “She is so fast – she could steal, delayed steal, whatever she wanted to do. She can bunt and she can hit home runs – she can do it all at the plate. I think she can start at shortstop next year, or she can be the best outfielder in the program. She is that good.”
One thing was for certain this year, and in years past. When Perez got dialed in, it was hard to find a pitcher or a defense which could slow her down. This season, that meant a 12-game stretch in which Perez had multi-hit games in a staggering 11 of those 12 games, collecting 28 hits during that sequence. Even in the quarterfinal loss to Freedom, Perez had a 3-for-4 day at the plate with a double, two stolen bases, and three RBI.
For seven straight seasons, the Alhambra lineup featured a Perez, and a Sparacino for that matter, with sisters Hailey and Karlee mirroring the careers of Kylee and Briana. Next season will be a transition for the Bulldogs, as they look to move on with new names and faces for the first time in close to a decade.
“We will be fine next year with some new players coming in,” Buccellato said. “But it will be impossible to replace the talent and leadership we have enjoyed in this program. And you certainly cannot replace a Bri Perez.”
For an outstanding senior season, to cap an amazing four-year high school career, Briana Perez is our Prep2Prep North Coast Section Player of the Year.
Other players considered for this award include Amador Valley’s Danielle Williams and Foothill’s Nicole May.
Coach of the Year
MATT SWEENEY, FOOTHILL
Matt Sweeney is Prep2Prep's NCS Coach of the Year.
By NATE SMITH
Our 2015 North Coast Section Coach of the Year for football can now add the same title, but for another sport, as Foothill’s Matt Sweeney led his softball team to the Division I title this year, despite graduating 10 seniors from last year’s team which lost in the section championship game.
Towards the end of the regular season, it was clear that the Falcons were one of the top four teams in the section, but a section title still seemed slightly out of reach, especially Foothill lost to cross-town rival Amador Valley for the second time in the regular season, and did not get a hit off Dons ace Danielle Williams. Sweeney, however, delivered a different type of message to his team before Foothill faced Amador Valley again in the EBAL title game.
“I told the girls we were ready for that win,” Sweeney said. “We lost 6-0 to them the first time, and 2-0 to them the second time, so I told them that we would win 2-0 since we were improving by four runs each time.”
Sweeney proved prophetic, as the Falcons took down Amador Valley to win the EBAL tournament, and gain serious momentum headed into the NCS Division I playoffs, where they were awarded the second seed behind the Dons. They rode that momentum past Liberty and San Ramon Valley in the first two rounds, before smashing past BVAL champion Heritage in the semifinals, 9-1, and then dominating James Logan in the championship game, 6-2, scoring the last six runs of the game.
The section title would not have been predicted before the year by many outside the Falcons’ program, especially after Foothill graduated its core of players from the previous year. But instead, the Falcons gained an influx of talent, and Sweeney wound up starting three freshmen, including his starting battery of pitcher Nicole May and catcher Courtney Beaudin, both of whom wound up as two of the top players in the section this season.
“I was concerned about leadership before the season, but there was a ton of respect and leadership from this group,” Sweeney said. “Our three seniors learned in the shadow of our 10 seniors last year, and they created a great dynamic on the team. The unique part about this year was how they ended up being very unselfish, and very cohesive.”
It became clear early in the season that there would be no drop-off in talent on the Pleasanton campus, as the Falcons won their first seven games, six of those by shutout, as May quickly gained the attention of everyone across the section. Those seven wins were followed by a one-run loss to Livermore, but the team bounced back with five straight wins, including a 1-0, extra-inning victory over Freedom, in a reversal of the previous season’s section title game. That win came in handy for seeding later in the year, as did eight straight wins between losses to Amador Valley.
Throughout the season, a theme emerged for Sweeney and the Falcons, one which has the veteran coach seeming years younger than the story told by his actual age and years of experience. A year removed from his battle with throat cancer, Sweeney has become re-energized by a group full of not only young talent, but a tremendous work ethic.
“The best players on this team are also the hardest workers,” Sweeney commented. “It has been an absolute joy to coach this team.”
In the wake of winning a section title, his team also echoes his comments, only in regards to playing in his program.
“I’m proud to be a part of a team led by Coach Sweeney,” said May, who was named the NCS Freshman of the Year. “His dedication drives the team to do better. We started the season off strong, and we learned from our losses. Not only did he make sure that we improved as a team throughout the season, but also that everyone got closer, and my teammates are like a second family to me.”
For his ability to mold a group mixed with veteran leaders and talented young players, and lead to a section title, Matt Sweeney is our Prep2Prep NCS Coach of the Year.
Other coaches considered for this award include Concord’s Megan Coddington, James Logan’s Teri Johnson, and San Marin’s Liz Hartmann.
FIRST TEAM ALL-NCS
Nicole May, Foothill
The first-team EBAL selection notched an incredible 293 strikeouts in her 191 innings pitched, leading Foothill to the NCS Division I title. She posted a 0.84 ERA in her first high school season. The Oklahoma commit also hit .460 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI.
Vanessa Strong, Freedom
Strong led the Falcons to their third straight BVAL title and nearly back to the NCS championship game, pitching Freedom to 16 wins. She had a 1.17 ERA with a pair of no-hitters, and struck out 206 batters in 137 innings pitched.
Missy Nunes, Livermore
The Oregon State commit was an absolute rock for the Cowboys, batting .514 with eight home runs, four triples, six doubles, and 31 RBI. She added 13 walks for an astronomical OPS of 1.625, while striking out just six times all season.
Riley Siegel, Drake
The MCAL Player of the Year hit .443 to lead the Pirates into the Division III semifinals, along with seven home runs and 18 total extra-base hits. The UC Davis commit also walked 19 times and stole 12 bases, both team-high marks.
Briana Perez, Alhambra
Perez capped her amazing high school career by hitting .600 with six home runs, four triples, and 11 doubles, to go with 39 RBI and 25 stolen bases. The UCLA commit also walked 17 times for an astronomical OPS of 1.758.
Hope Alley, Foothill
Moving from second base to shortstop this season, Alley anchored the infield for the EBAL and NCS Division I champion Falcons. She also hit .370 with nine stolen bases, including a .431 average during EBAL play and a .428 average during the four-game playoff run.
Madison Kahwaty, Livermore
The University of Pacific commit and first-team EBAL selection led the Cowboys with a .534 batting average, to go with nine doubles and a team-high 38 RBI. That included a 10-game hitting streak to end the season, and the game-winning double in an early win over Amador Valley.
Kat Hall, Heritage
The MVP in the BVAL led the league champion Patriots in the circle and at the plate, batting .528 with two home runs and a team-high 22 RBI, while also posting a 0.42 ERA with six complete game shutouts.
Hailey Dolcini, Fortuna
The HDN-Big 5 MVP got it done in the circle and at the plate for the Huskies, as the dominant player in the region. The UC Riverside commit went 23-2 with a 0.38 ERA and seven no-hitters, striking out 345 batters in 165 innings pitched. At the plate, she hit .620 with six home runs, five triples, 13 doubles, and 31 RBI. She finished her four-year varsity career with 47 extra-base hits at the plate and 1,176 strikeouts in the circle.
SECOND TEAM ALL-NCS
Courtney Beaudin, Foothill
The first-team EBAL selection made it clear she will be a force in this section, batting .453 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in her inaugural high school campaign. She was at her best in league play, where she hit .564 with six of her 10 home runs.
Melika Ofoia, John Swett
The three-time TCAL-Stone MVP continued to be one of the top hitters in the section, batting .600 with 10 home runs, 12 triples, and 37 RBI for the Warriors. The New Mexico State commit walked 13 times and posted an OPS of 2.191, with 21 stolen bases. Ofoia also added pitching to her repertoire this season, winning 10 games when she wasn’t behind the plate.
Sabrina Nunez, Redwood
Nunez concluded an illustrious high school career by hitting .459 with 13 stolen bases this season. The Cal commit posted an 11-game hitting streak late in the year, including eight straight multi-hit games, and finishes with a career .509 batting average in four varsity seasons.
Juliana Pichardo, Concord
As one of just two seniors on the Concord roster, Pichardo led the Minutemen to a Division II title, hitting .400 with two home runs and a team-high 34 RBI. The first-team DAL selection also reached 19 times on either a walk or hit by pitch.
Morgyn Wynne, Concord
As the season went on and games became more important, Wynne’s workload increased, as her 8-3 record in the circle included wins over Carondelet, Redwood, and Livermore in the last three games of the season, resulting in a Division II title for the Minutemen. She also hit .338 with two home runs, six doubles, and 19 RBI.
Megan Bower, Miramonte
Position: Designated Hitter
The Santa Clara commit hit an amazing .679 with six home runs and 41 RBI, and struck out just one time all season. She now has a career .686 batting average with 29 home runs, 67 total extra-base hits, and 132 RBI heading into her final high school campaign.
Faith Derby, Freedom
Position: Designated Hitter
Derby’s big bat led the Falcons at the plate, and delivered them into the section semifinals. She hit .544 for the season with eight home runs, seven doubles, and 31 RBI. In Freedom’s quarterfinal game with Alhambra, she not only delivered a two-run homer during the Falcons’ sixth-inning comeback, but also ended the game with a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the seventh.
THIRD TEAM ALL-NCS
Holly Gonzales (Kennedy-Fremont), Carly Slack (Marin Catholic), Sofia Earle (Carondelet), Ellie Bauer (San Rafael), Allison Hersh (Kennedy-Richmond)
Jenna Christensen (Fortuna), Sierra Shanoff (Montgomery), Cassie Wenn (James Logan)
Jenna Liu (San Ramon Valley), Kalissa Heihn (Freedom), Reilani Peleti (Rancho Cotate), Lacey Sandoval (James Logan), Riley Ehlen (Heritage), Haley Titone (Cardinal Newman), Hannah Myers (Amador Valley), Nicole Shoptaugh (Piedmont), Hana Suppus (Piner)
Marissa Gonzales (Freedom), Gabriella Zagone (College Park), Valeria Torres-Colon (Amador Valley), Anyssia Ramirez (Heritage), Sydney Frankenberger (California), Cydney Hampton (St. Patrick-St. Vincent)
Krystyna Allman (Castro Valley), Brittany Martinez (Pinole Valley), Anna Zoia-Buescher (Montgomery), Brooke Panfili (Acalanes), Mary Locher (Las Lomas), Reyna Heredia (Saint Mary’s), Aliyah Yates (James Logan)
Kylie Berry, Jazzlyn Boynton
Trina Eichel, Mira Piamonte
Brianna Edwards, Maci Shepherd, Lindsey Osmer, Regan Silva
Jessica Emde, Sofia Molina, Courtney Dinelli
Hannah Hillman, Brittany Walkingstick
Hannah Hillman, Brittany Walkingstick
Ayanna Sanchez, Bailee Reed
Molly Kolander, Taylor McCullough
Milan Machado Buckley, Claire Kaneko, Madeline Kaneko
Elizabeth Avery, Nicole Hammoude, Michael Edwards-Gonzales
Kelly Curlett, JoAna Mullins
Tara McAteer, Katelyn Poole
Gabrielle Williams, Keleva Salt, Ally Schwenger
Kate West, Alauna Rico, Presley Ruoff
Lauren Kong, Emily Shaw, Yazmine Romero
Amber Desena, Elena Oceguera, Sarah Clifton, Aleya Rath
Allison Douglas, Brook Nolan, Payten Healy
Jessica Kim, Sam Tran
Brianna Gallardo, Sophia Lin
Kayla Gregory, Libby Schkig
Kaitlyn Ogata, Lily Wilmot
Lauren Hermes, Karen Didio, Hailey Hayes, Mary Rockwood
Taylor Murray, Taylor Fournier, Juliana Ortega-Miranda
Allyson McBroom, Shannon Coston, Allyson Ferreira
Tatum Hayes, Jessica Marty, Emma Duckworth
Vanessa Osti, Mia Yuen
Xiara Diaz, Juliana Sargent
Olivia Cazares, Adrianna Garcia
Allison Bryant, Bailey Couey
Ally Carrol, Alissa Gardenal, Claire Sellick
Hayli Greene, Alexus Coleman
Alyssa Ramirez, Emily Trask
LIVERMORE VALLEY CHARTER:
Izzy Incaviglia, Destiny Buckhanan
Natalie Parker, Jordan Maddox, Cassidy Cheong
Ashley Baker, Maddie Larson
Gabi Perez, Arielle Acosta
Yolanda Campos, Vanessa Tungui
Haylee Nelson, Viviana Gamez
Jaden Krist, Alexis Silinonte, Emily O’Keefe
Camille Creighton, Kyra Gardner
Bria Horace, Ally Gordon
Taylor Del Santo, Malia Kuka, Taylor Proctor, Talia Guerrero
Mandy Weitenhagen, Morgan Baker-Celis
Janai Denard, Taylor McCracken
Sarah Giles, Bella Martinez
Alexis Bishop, Kayla Simonetti
SAN RAMON VALLEY:
Casey Overfield, Sophia Hayes, Lauren Arado
Ally Alcayaga, Lyndsey Lee, Molly Brown, Jenna Ebert
Ally Del Grande
ST. JOSEPH NOTRE-DAME:
Tyesen Gordon, Caroline Bridges
ST. PATRICK-ST. VINCENT:
Neenah Pangilinan, Deijah Pangilinan
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL:
Sully Henry, Haley Antonini