The Feather River Community College softball team finished its 2005 season on a high note, taking fourth in the Golden Valley Conference.
Under the guidance of coach Merle Trueblood, the Eagles finished 18-23 overall and 9-11 in conference play.
"We are in the midst of something special here at Feather River College," Trueblood said. "It is always exciting to build a program, and it is even more exciting to re-build a program that was once a powerhouse in the state of California."
Three Feather River College Golden Eagles were named to the All-League team this year. Six players also received honorable mentions. The All-League recipients were Douglas High's Cheryl Nicoll, infield; Tia Bartek, outfield; and Douglas High's Stevie Smith, Rookie of the Year. Honorable mentions included Carson High's Heather Diamond, outfield; Savannah Roman, infield; Rebecca Rhode, infield; Erika Trueblood, catcher; Bethany Hamar, pitcher; and Carson High's Kaitie Vidovich, infield.
"These awards have the dual benefit of rewarding individual excellence and recognizing the improvement and ability of the team overall," Trueblood said.
The GVC is one of the toughest conferences in the state with the three teams finishing ahead of the Golden Eagles finishing the season being ranked in the top eight in Northern California.
Trueblood said his goals for the future include aggressive recruiting and taking the Golden Eagles to championships every year. He noted that the recruits who have committed to play at Feather next year are excellent. Most of them are from the Northern Nevada, and a few are coming from as far away as Pennsylvania, Arizona, Oregon, and Utah. Trueblood said his belief that the combination of this new talent with that of the returning players will position the Golden Eagles as one of the teams to beat in 2006.
The Eagles were beset by injuries going into the last six games of the season, playing with only nine players for the remaining four games. Losing shortstop Nicoll to a base running injury halfway through conference play left the Eagles moving players around. Tia Bartek (Reed High) helped pick up where Nicoll left off. She stepped up and made some big plays for the Eagles, as did Vidovich, who took over Bartek's position in center field. The Eagles ended up winning two of the five games and the sixth game was forfeited. On April 23, sophomore day, the team started off the last home game and final games of the season. With rain pouring down, the game against College of the Redwoods was tied going into the seventh inning 6-6. With runners on, Erika Trueblood (Quincy High) came up big for the Eagles, ripping a line drive through the infield scoring a run. Umpires called the second game due to inclement weather. Redwoods then forfeited, and the Eagles ended the season on a winning note.
"We are back!" Trueblood said. "Many schools are interested in our sophomores; it's now up to them where they want to go. We have had over 10 colleges show interest in our athletes and I am sure we will place everyone who wants to go on to the next level."
Next year's schedule includes games against most of the top 10 teams in the state. The 2006 Golden Eagle Softball tentative schedule can be viewed on the college's website at www.frcsports.com.
FEATHER RIVER BASEBALL
It was another successful season for the Feather River baseball team as it clinched another GVC title on the final weekend of the regular season. Among the local players for the team were Douglas High infielder Cal Lewis, who has signed to play for Division I South Dakota State, and pitchers Rick Cummins of Galena and Tommy Hoyle of Douglas.
Lewis' RBI single in the first game of a regular season ending doubleheader at Shasta helped give the Golden Eagles a conference-clinching 9-4 win. Cummins also played a key role, pitching three solid innings to pick up the save.
In the nightcap, Hoyle was the winning pitcher as he threw a perfect 10th inning to pick up his third win of the year in an 11-8 victory. Feather River was eliminated from the California state playoffs this past weekend as it was swept by Porterville College, 9-3 and 5-4.
At least one local player is still alive in the California state playoffs with a chance to go to the Final Four. Carson High's Cameron Leck, who's had an outstanding freshman year for San Mateo, went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in San Mateo's first round series clinching 12-3 win over Merced. San Mateo opened with a 13-1 win over Merced
San Mateo will play this weekend in the double elimination second round against American River, Consumnes River and Santa Rosa. San Mateo will open with American River at 11 a.m. Friday at Consumnes. The winner will advance to the Final Four to be played May 28-30 in Fresno.