P2P NCS Girls Softball Honors
Marin Catholic's Julia Scardina is the NCS Sophomore of the Year. (Courtesy of Bill Schneider/Varsity Pix)

NCS Sophomore of the Year

Following a standout freshman season, which included being part of Marin Catholic’s second straight section title run, Julia Scardina elevated her game to another level in her sophomore season and led the Wildcats in virtually every important offensive category.

The North Carolina State commit certainly had a target on her back as the primary power bat returning in the Marin Catholic lineup. Despite that, and a nagging hamstring injury, Scardina hit .571 with three home runs, 13 doubles, and 25 RBI. And those power numbers could have been a lot higher were it not for one factor completely out of her control.

“We play our home games at the College of Marin, and their fence is 280 feet away, much farther than a normal high school fence,” said Marin Catholic coach Dave Albini. “We believe she would have had around 15 home runs with normal fences. She hit a ton of hard balls, but opposing teams usually had their outfield playing much deeper than normal.”

Despite playing in a pitcher’s ballpark, the first-team All-MCAL selection still proved to be a major threat every time up. And her numbers came playing in one of the deepest leagues in the section, and facing pitchers such as San Marin’s Madison Papenhausen and Drake’s Sona Halajian. In the Wildcats’ semifinal loss to San Marin, she had two of the team’s five hits against Papenhausen.

“She had some great battles against the best pitchers we faced. She is real good at identifying what she is facing and making adjustments,” Albini said. “She was the heart of our lineup. We just had to figure out how to get people on base in front of her.”

During a one-month stretch through April, the argument could be made that Scardina was the hottest bat in the entire section. She hit safely in all seven games, racking up 18 hits with five multi-hit games, to go with three home runs and 13 RBI in that stretch. That included a home run off St. Ignatius standout pitcher Madie Augusto.

“She is really good at handling at all types of pitches, including off-speed stuff,” Albini added. “She has a plan at the plate, and knows how pitchers are going to try and attack her.”

In the field, Scardina displayed her versatility and team-first approach for Marin Catholic, spending most her time at first base despite her natural predilection for handling the catcher position. Part of that was the hamstring issue, but another part of was simply playing where the team needed her the most. Albini referenced her ability to dig balls out of the dirt while playing first, and also mentioned the possibility of her playing multiple positions in 2018, including third base.

Next season, Marin Catholic will play its home games at Redwood High School, while the College of Marin has work done on its facility. That means no more outfielders playing well beyond the normal high school fence line. And that could be scary for opposing pitchers when facing someone who now has 31 extra-base hits and 63 RBI just halfway through her high school career.

Other players considered for this award include Heritage’s Morgan Hess, Carondelet’s Emma McLaughlin, Foothill’s Hope Alley, and St. Patrick-St. Vincent’s Deijah Pangilinan.

NOTE: We would like to thank our media partners, coaches, parents, players and fans for contributing photos for our all-section features. We salute all of the players that have made this a wonderful season of NCS softball.