SELMA — In her second year as head coach, Amber Green recognizes the talent and experience on Selma's softball team, especially coming off a season when the Bears finished on top as Valley champions.
“We do have a lot of older girls there for the leadership and experience,” Green said. “We also have some younger girls with fresh blood and athleticism that I think are going to add to our team. I’m optimistic about the mix we have this year.”
So far, Selma is 2-2 overall with four games remaining in its preseason schedule. The Bears are slated to begin Central Sequoia League play on the road against Exeter on April 10.
Last season, Selma went 10-0 in CSL play and 19-7-1 overall to its CIF Central Section Division IV championship victory over Mission Oak. The Bears also finished last season with 11-straight wins. It was the first section championship in three-straight trips. Last season’s championship victory was the third in program history and the first since 2001.
Green has coached some of the current seniors on the team before becoming head coach of the program. She was an assistant coach at Selma in 2015 before departing for a head coaching position at Immanuel High School in 2016. Last season, Green returned to run the Bears softball program after former coach Kellen Kubo got hired as the head coach for Clovis East.
From 2013-16, Selma has scored at least 200 or more runs throughout the season. Last year, the Bears only scored 147 runs, but its pitching and defense allowed 67 runs.
This season, Green said she’s optimistic that the team’s ability to hit and score runs will be improved.
“There’s a lot of girls contributing,” she said. “It’s not just one or two [girls]. In the first game, all the way down the lineup we had hits.”
Since the 2015 season, Selma has dominated league play by going 39-1, which led to three-straight CSL titles.
Senior pitcher Hailey Garcia said winning a league-title is something that is expected from the team going into every season.
“Everyone is motivated to get that [league] title,” Garcia said. “Everyone expects a lot out of us and we expect a lot out of ourselves. So we just want to continue to have that title.”
Senior catcher and captain Aly Cerda alluded to the team’s mindset and chemistry on the diamond when asked about the program's dominance in the CSL.
“I think it’s the same idea as working toward Valley [championship], I think you take it one game at a time,” Cerda said. “Every game you take seriously and just work to the best of your ability for each person to be the best team player they can be.”
Garcia and Cerda have been on the team since 2015 as freshmen
When asked what they want to accomplish by the end of their senior season, they both want to add another Valley championship ring.
“I feel like that’s a common goal,’’ Cerda said. “That’s probably the most obvious, but I think [it's also important] to keep that good team chemistry.”
Since 2016, the softball team has competed in three-straight Valley championship games and finally went over the hump in Green’s first season as coach. In the 2015 season, Selma went as far as the semifinals.
“They’ve seen the playoff situation three times through,” Green said. “I think they’re ready again.”
Up next for the Bears is a home double-header against Sanger and Monache on March 17. First pitch against Sanger will be at 10 a.m. and the Bears are scheduled to play Monache at 2 p.m.