It has been two long years since the Waterford Wildcats softball team has brought home a blue sections championship banner. It was two head coaches ago as well. It has been a cruel two years for Waterford who has been teased by greatness only to be denied time-and-again by their league rival, the Mariposa Grizzlies.
Fate seems destined that the top two teams from the Southern Athletic League will face off once again. Certainly the big wigs who set the playoff brackets think so too. The D-VI softball world was stunned to see Millennium receive the top seed, despite their 24-1 record. As Millennium is most likely to find out, all 24-1 records are not built the same. While they are the undefeated CCAA champions, and they won all but one non-conference game this year, their list of vanquished foes is hardly impressive by any standard. Millennium will likely make quick work of a Gustine Redskins team who they handled decisively earlier in the year, but they will likely have to get through a proven and battle hardened Waterford to get to the Championship. A championship game that is almost certain to see the defending Champion Mariposa Grizzlies take part as well.
Waterford will start off against Foresthill from the Central Valley California League. On paper, it looks as if Waterford should make quick work of Foresthill to meet Millennium in the Semi-Finals. We think Waterford will prevail in the semi-finals over Millennium in a competitive game where pitching will make the difference and Waterford has the edge. Then it should be on the the Championship game against Mariposa, where we think the time is right for Waterford to knock the Grizzlies off the top of the mountain.
At the 4th seed one would wonder why Waterford would be a pick to win? Well here is a few reasons why Waterford is ready to oust their longtime nemesis Mariposa:
1. Senior Pitcher Kaytlin Donaldson (1.86 ERA – 262 K)
If Waterford wins a Championship, it will be on the shoulders of its ace Donaldson. With a 1.86 ERA she has a sky high 262 strike outs on the season. Which is a Waterford High School single season record. She lead the S.A.L. in strike outs and ranked 2nd in the entire Sac-Joaquin Section. Pitching is not all Donaldson has to offer, she also lead the league with 8 Home Runs.
2. A Deep Line Up
Waterford is young, but they have bats that should be respected. Waterford players dominated offensive stats in the Southern League, which is without question the dominant and toughest league for Softball in D-VI. Freshmen Alyssa Donaldson, sister of Kaytlin, is a slugger in her own right and was 2nd in league behind Kaytlin for home runs. Waterford lead SAL with 15 big ones on the season.
3. Head Coach Donnie Donaldson
Coach Donaldson is a winner. Period. He coaches one of the premier travel ball teams in the state. (Tri-County Smash) His resume speaks for itself. Waterford won’t have the best defense in the tournament, and they have been prone to errors, but Donaldson’s leadership and experience should have the kinks worked out. He will have Waterford’s best out there. We expect Donaldson to out coach anyone in the bracket.
Of course all the prognostication doesn’t matter. The girls must play the games to prove the pundits right or wrong. But everyone who is anyone seems to agree, the D-VI final should be Waterford staring down bitter rival Mariposa once more. It’s what the fans want, it’s what the media wants and I am sure it’s what Waterford and Mariposa want. And if you ask me, Waterford is the team primed to take it all.