2017-03-17 / Sports

Perfect form

SOFTBALL /// Simi Valley Pioneers Simi softball team off to sizzling start on the diamond
By Jonathan Andrade


O’TOOLE TIME—Simi Valley High softball players Allison O’Toole, right, and Jessica Cross high-five during the Pioneers’ 8-7 win against Camarillo on March 14 at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park. 
Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers O’TOOLE TIME—Simi Valley High softball players Allison O’Toole, right, and Jessica Cross high-five during the Pioneers’ 8-7 win against Camarillo on March 14 at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park. Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Allison O’Toole is batting a thousand this season for Simi Valley High’s softball team.

Sure, the junior’s only had two at-bats, but she came up with two of the biggest hits of this young season in the Pioneers’ 8-7 win against Coastal Canyon League foe Camarillo on March 14.

O’Toole hadn’t played all season while recovering from an ankle injury during a basketball game against Royal on Feb. 10.

She was itching to see her first action on the diamond.

With two runners on and one out in the bottom of the sixth inning against Camarillo on Tuesday, she smashed a two-run double to tie the game. She followed up with a leadoff single in the seventh inning; she came around to score the game-winning run on a single by teammate Julia Jackson.


HEAD AND HEART—Simi Valley head coach Andy Silva, left, talks with junior Cortnee Steeber before her at bat. Steeber plays at shortstop and in the outfield for the Pioneers, the defending league champs. HEAD AND HEART—Simi Valley head coach Andy Silva, left, talks with junior Cortnee Steeber before her at bat. Steeber plays at shortstop and in the outfield for the Pioneers, the defending league champs. “It doesn’t get any better than that,” head coach Andy Silva said of O’Toole’s season debut.

Simi Valley improved to 6-1 overall, including 2-0 in league, with the victory. The Pioneers played Oak Park on Thursday. A final score was unavailable at press time.

O’Toole’s start mirrors the team’s early successes at the dish. The back-to-back league champs started the season batting .350 as a team.

The win against Camarillo boosted the Pioneers’ confidence, but Jackson said there’s room for improvement.

“It says we’re capable of winning league by defeating the toughest team in our league,” she said. “Hopefully it’s also a glimpse of what we need to improve on as a team.”


PIONEERS MAKE THE GRADE—Simi Valley won six of its first seven games this season. Pictured clockwise from left: Pioneer pitcher Gabrielle Siciliano throws a strike against Camarillo on March 14; Alexandra “Boom” Carabello runs to third base on a triple against the Scorpions; and Morgan Siebers, left, and Carabello collide while attempting to catch a pop fly against Camarillo. Simi Valley earned an 8-7 comeback win at home on March 14. PIONEERS MAKE THE GRADE—Simi Valley won six of its first seven games this season. Pictured clockwise from left: Pioneer pitcher Gabrielle Siciliano throws a strike against Camarillo on March 14; Alexandra “Boom” Carabello runs to third base on a triple against the Scorpions; and Morgan Siebers, left, and Carabello collide while attempting to catch a pop fly against Camarillo. Simi Valley earned an 8-7 comeback win at home on March 14. Jackson, who plays second base, also shares time in the pitchers’ circle with Gabrielle Siciliano, a junior. Jackson maintains a 1.05 ERA with a 3-1 record; her only loss was to Newbury Park.

“She not only does it on the mound, she does it with her bat,” the coach said of Jackson, who has a .542 batting average. “She’s been a good asset for us.”

Siciliano, who flaunts a 1.78 ERA, is 3-0. Jackson and Siciliano each have 19 strikeouts on the year.

Simi Valley’s found a spark in the powerful bat of Alexandra “Boom” Carabello, a first-year varsity junior.

Carabello, who patrols first base, originally got the nickname “Boom Boom” from her father in sixth grade.

“It got shortened to ‘Boom’ after all the years,” Carabello said.

It’s surprising the nickname isn’t softball-related considering the moniker belongs to one of the league’s best sluggers. Carabello leads the team with 14 RBI and two home runs, including a timely grand slam in a 7-3 win against Moorpark on March 9.

Seniors Katelyn Hanson and Taylor Siebers, junior Morgan Siebers—Taylor’s younger sister— and sophomore Chaela Crowder all hit effectively. Hanson is a shortstop; Taylor Siebers plays in the outfield; Morgan Siebers starts at third, and Crowder plays second.

Briana Tucker, a junior captain, is the field general behind the plate.

Jessica Cross, a center fielder, is a budding young sophomore.

Makenna Gavcus, Cortnee Steeber and Jazmin Karunungan contribute for Simi Valley.

The Pioneers, who want to go undefeated in league this year, play host to Royal at 3:30 p.m. March 21 at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park.

Silva said the team can’t get complacent now.

“Any team is just as good as you are unless you can prove it otherwise,” the coach said. “They have to go out there and prove that they’re better than the other teams.”



HEART OF AMERICA—Camarillo’s Rachel Hurtado, right, beats the tag at home plate by Simi Valley catcher Briana Tucker on March 14. HEART OF AMERICA—Camarillo’s Rachel Hurtado, right, beats the tag at home plate by Simi Valley catcher Briana Tucker on March 14.

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