Lady Dons softball team wins Division I CIF championship

Nicole Lobo, Opinions Editor

On May 31, 2014, the Lady Dons softball team was crowned Division I champions after a 6-1 win against the No. 4 seeded Ramona Bulldogs. In the 2013 season, the Lady Dons ended their season with eighteen wins and an upsetting loss in the finals against Santana High School, losing four to two. This year, however, the girls were determined to take home the trophy as they worked their way up to a second chance.

“We started our season off strong with many wins, which gave us a lot of confidence for the rest of the season,” said senior Hannah Gilliland. “Last year we lost in the finals, which motivated us even more to come back hard and take it all.”

Sophomore pitcher Devyn Magnett concurred. “We expected to win it all if we played to the best of our capabilities,” she said. “And we did.”

The Lady Dons cite their toughest games as their loss to Poway and their loss to Ramona. “The Poway game was difficult because it was our first loss, and our loss to Ramona in the second round of CIF was shattering,” Hannah said. “But after the Poway game, I think we had a little less pressure on us to go undefeated, so it ended up actually being kind of a good thing. Our team has such a strong bond that when we lost to Ramona, we weren’t ready for our season to be over, so we all bounced back really well.”

In the final game at UCSD, the Lady Dons beat the Ramona Bulldogs 6-1 to earn their championship title. The girls accumulated points throughout the innings while keeping the opposing team from scoring, largely due to Devyn’s pitching.

“Devyn pitched really well and only gave up a few hits, which was helpful in holding the Bulldogs to one run. And then all through the batting order everyone was hitting well, which really helped cement our win,” said Hannah.

In the same game, Hannah (with a season batting average of .513) hit a home run that brought in three runs, bringing the Lady Dons to a score of five runs total.

Devyn and Hannah both won the team’s MVP awards. Junior Sarai Nui won Offensive Player of the Year, and all three girls made First Team All-CIF.

The softball team will be losing two seniors, Hannah Gilliland and Laurel Coito.

“Hannah and Laurel were great assets to the team. We looked up to them, and they motivated us to try harder,” said junior Bianca Barrios. “We will dearly miss them, but we know that they will do bigger and better things in college – so keep an eye out for their names!”

Hannah is going on to play softball at USD, and Laurel will continue her softball career at Manhattanville College.

The championship win brought the Lady Dons to a season record of 29-3. The girls are led by Head Coach Ms. Margaret Mauro – a veteran coach with thirty years of experience and more than six hundred wins to her credit – along with staffers Coach Kilroy and Coach Joe Hallare.

“I know the team will do great things in the upcoming years,” Hannah said. “This season was great, and I hope that the Lady Dons can continue to win games and keep the same close bond we maintained throughout the season.”