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On the Beat Softball: College players take centerstage

Posted: May 31, 2014 10:10 p.m.
Updated: May 31, 2014 10:10 p.m.

Welcome to On The Beat, college softball edition.

While the high school softball season is officially over for Santa Clarita Valley teams, a number of their alumnas are still rolling at the next level.

University of Auburn outfielder and Golden Valley High graduate Branndi Melero was named one of three outfielders on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association First Team All American list.

Melero joins University of Tennessee shortstop Madison Shipman, a Valencia graduate, as the only two locals to earn the prestigious honor.

Melero wa second on the Tigers with a .404 batting average, and drove in a team-high 78 RBIs to go along with 15 home runs.

She smacked 12 doubles and had 126 total bases on the season

Shipman is a four year star for Tennessee earning her third All American award.

She hit .417 to lead the Volunteers this season and also led the team with 56 runs scored, 70 hits, 16 doubles, 140 total bases, an .833 slugging percentage, 46 walks and a .548 on-base percentage to go along with 18 home runs.

Top of her class: Despite her University of Tennessee team falling to the University of Oklahoma in the NCAA Super Regionals last week, Valencia graduate Madison Shipman received quite the honor.

Shipman, an All American, won the senior CLASS award this week, which according to the award’s website is given to a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.

The senior CLASS award stands for “Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School.”

“Tennessee has not only prepared me for my future career as a professional softball player and coach but has taught me the importance of community,” Shipman said in a release. “The Tennessee softball program provided me with the opportunity to work with different charity organizations and helped me gain a true understanding of what ‘giving back’ means. It doesn’t have to mean simply monetary contributions. Your time, respect, dedication and caring spirit are all ways to give back. My journey these last four years has been full of life experiences and I wouldn’t be the same person that I am today without all of the charity events that the Tennessee program participated in.”

Out West: Another Valencia graduate was busy doing great things at the college level.

2011 Vikings’ graduate Caitlin Rooney came on strong during the West Coast Conference season, hitting .375 with six RBIs and a home run for University of San Diego Toreros.

Her perfect fielding percentage from her first-base position was tied for tops on the team, as she mad 235 put outs on the season to go along with zero errors.

For her efforts, Rooney was name to the West Coast Conference First Team and was nominated for the Player of the Year award in the conference.

World Series update: The Women’s College World Series is underway this weekend, and two locals had a chance to go head to head last night.

After losing to Florida on Friday, West Ranch graduate Janelle Lindvall and the University of Oregon Ducks faced off on Saturday with Canyon graduate Brittany Williams and the University of Oklahoma Sooners.

Oregon won 4-2, leaving Lindvall as the only Santa Clarita Valley local still alive in the tournament.

At this point last season the valley still had four local athletes competing, as Williams and former teammate and Hart graduate Jessica Shults, and University of Tennessee shortstop Madison Shipman (Valencia) and former first baseman Melissa Brown (Hart) all met in the championship series in 2013.

Oregon will play today at 12:30 against No. 2-seeded Alabama.


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