Juliana Santos and Erin Arevalo were softball terrors this season, for entirely different reasons.
Santos, a recent Orestimba High graduate, had a hit in two out of every three at-bats. The smooth shortstop also took away several hits with her glove during the Warriors' Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship season.
Arevalo, who graduated from East Union, led the state in strikeouts for the second year in a row. The four-year varsity pitcher fired 19 shutouts, including nine no-hitters, for East Union.
For their efforts, Santos is The Bee's 2008 Softball Player of the Year, and Arevalo is the Pitcher of the Year.
Both seasons were record-setting:
Santos was a big part of the Warriors' undefeated season as a junior, and she wanted her team to do the same in 2008.
"That was the original goal, to go undefeated again," said Santos, who will play for LSU next season. "But we also knew that 2007 was a dream season. You can't really expect to win every game again."
Orestimba lost twice in Tracy's NorCal Tournament, including a game against East Union and Arevalo. When the two players faced off, Santos went 1 for 3 against the Lancers' ace, striking out once.
"Once we lost, we set a new goal," Santos said. "We wanted to win another section title."
The Warriors didn't lose again after that tournament, closing the season on a 15-game winning streak. Orestimba crushed Linden 12-0 in the section final.
It was a great way to close the high school season for Santos, who has spent much of her life playing softball. She's spent loads of time hitting with her father, Ralph Santos, and hitting coach Bud Endicott. And she said she's learned even more since she's started giving hitting lessons.
"I'm teaching the mechanics of hitting to kids, and it's helped me as well," said Santos, who will be a pre-med major. "I'm teaching them, but I'm learning as well."
She'll take those skills to LSU, where she'll battle for a starting position immediately.
"I can't wait for LSU," she said. "There are five infielders going for two spots, basically. But it's college, so you never know where you're going to end up playing."
Whatever happens in college, Santos has memories of a second section championship season.
"We had eight seniors, and they all started," she said. "It was really fun, playing with a lot of my friends and winning the section.
"It was a great year."
Santos and Arevalo could face each other again, only this time in Southeastern Conference play. Arevalo will play for Georgia next season.
Arevalo was as dominant from the pitching rubber as Santos was at the plate.
She led the state with 492 strikeouts, allowing 52 hits and seven earned runs in 227 innings. She led the Lancers to the Division IV section finals for the second year in a row. But for the second time, Bear River swept East Union.
"While things didn't go the way we hoped in the final, it was still a great year," Arevalo said. "I'll remember this team for a long time. We were all friends and had a lot of fun."
Arevalo spent much of her offseason playing softball and preparing for her senior year.
"I wanted to improve all parts of my game," she said. "Get more in shape. Work on the physical as well as the mental."
It paid off. And soon, she'll be off to Georgia to continue her softball career.
"I'm excited," Arevalo said. "They told me I was going to get the chance to come in and compete right away."
Just like her high school career. And that turned out pretty well.
Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 578-2300.