When most softball athletes see their careers on the softball diamond come to a close at the prep or college level, they accept that the fastest pitches they will see again will probably come from a quick-talking telemarketer.
But that’s not the case for Oakdale High graduates Jami Terra (2002), Elizabeth Esparza (2003), Nicky Emens-Bonilla (2001) and Monique Galvan (2009).
The four softballers have followed prosperous prep and college careers with action in the Women’s Fastpitch Softball Association with the 18-and-over Knockouts.
The competitive program is fresh off a runner-up finish at the WFSA California Kickoff Classic, where the team went 4-2 across three days of action. They see serious competition against tough opponents in an active adult franchise that branched out to include softball in 2010 after starting as a baseball-only organization in Colorado several years ago.
“A lot of us figured that after high school and college we would be done with softball with nowhere to go,” Terra said on Sunday. “Two years ago we were given the opportunity to play fastpitch softball again and it’s been really neat to continue playing.”
The four Oakdale girls are joined by a host of local athletes, including former Valley Oak League foes Jessica Guillen (Tracy) and Sam Cooke (East Union). Former Trans-Valley League athletes Dani Caldwell, Leea Franscella and Sara Cree are also on the team.
“We’ve all become great friends,” Terra said. “It’s really awesome to play with girls who I used to play with and against in college and high school.”
The Knockouts opened 2012 strong by ousting Denver’s Mile High Smashers, Inland Empire’s Purple Reign and Inland Empire’s I’d Hit It during a 3-1 run through pool play on Jan. 14 and 15.
The wins advanced the team to face the Purple Reign in a tournament semifinal, where the Knockouts won in a 7-0 score to reach the championship game. In the title match, the Knockouts dropped an exciting 8-7 contest in eight innings to San Diego’s Ball Bustin Beezies.
Terra said the team plays in an 18-and-over Valley WFSA league where anyone can play from no experience to past professional experience. League play begins in March or April, and though the Knockouts have a full roster, the league is accepting additional adult fastpitch players and teams.
The Knockouts will attend another big WFSA tournament in Denver in June, and is fundraising to pay the $800 team fee and expenses. Those interested in sponsoring the Knockouts or joining WFSA can contact Terra at 209 988-3134.