Monarchs finish 2016 with twice as many wins as 2015 season

By Damian Marquez


Tulare – The Exeter softball team saw its season come to an end a couple of games sooner than it would have liked.

The Monarchs were the No. 7 seed in the Central Section Division IV playoffs and ran into a buzz saw in No. 2 Mission Oak.

The Hawks, which probably shouldn’t even be a Division IV team, proved to be too much as they rolled to a 13-0 win over the Monarchs on May 20 in Tulare.

And even though the Monarchs were disappointed to see their season come to an end, they still felt proud of everything they were able to accomplish.

Just last season, Exeter managed to win eight games.

They finished this season with twice as many wins and a 16-12-1 overall record.

“We basically have the same team as last year,” Exeter Coach Karen Zeibak said. “We have four new freshmen, but I’m very proud of the girls. We came out with high hopes. She was just a great pitcher. She hit her spots and is great, but I’m proud of my girls.”

Exeter managed just two hits against Mission Oak pitcher Mariah Mazon.

The first hit was a single by senior Amanda Acosta, and the second hit was another single my freshman Katelyn Kirkman.

Zeibak had nothing but praise for the job her seniors did to lead the team this season.

“I’m going to miss my seniors so much,” she said. “They’re all leaders and stepped up and helped the underclassmen. They do everything. They’re always helping out. They’re positive to be around and great role models.”

Exeter has six seniors on its roster, but with freshmen like Kirkman, Corinne Acosta and other key players returning, Zeibak is looking forward to next season.

“We are looking forward to next year,” Zeibak said. “There’s a couple strong freshman coming up. From little Exeter, we always rely on freshman to come in and fill spots. Today, you saw Katelyn Kirkman come in with a hit and a couple other girls had good contact. We expect our young freshman to play here.”

Exeter reached the Division IV quarterfinals thanks to a 12-2 win over Mira Monte in the opening round of the playoffs on May 18.

The Monarchs pounded out 17 hits in the victory with seven different players recording hits.

Sophomore Taylor Hornburg went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, freshman Corinne Acosta went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and four runs scored, senior Vanessa Grimsley went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, Amanda Acosta went 3-for-5 with one RBI and three runs scored, senior Viviona Reveles went 2-for-2, freshman Kaytee Davidson went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and sophomore Julieanna Rocha went 1-for-3 with a run scored.

In the circle, Grimsley gave up just one hit and struck out six.

For the season, several Monarchs finished with impressive statistics.

Grimsley posted a .438 batting average with 40 RBIs, 11 doubles, two triples and two home runs.

Amanda Acosta hit .494 with 18 RBIs, six extra-base hits, 45 runs scored and 42 stolen bases. Acosta set a pair of school records. Her 45 runs scored are a new single-season school record, and she scored six runs in one game to also set a single-game school record. Her 42 stolen bases are one shy of the school single-season record.

Corinne Acosta hit .434 with 14 RBIs and 35 runs scored, Rocha hit .360 with 17 RBIs, Hornburg hit .333 with 13 RBIs, Kenedi

Baxter-Jones hit .434 with 11 RBIs, Davidson hit .372 with eight RBIs and Danica Todd hit .421 with nine RBIs.

“They were great, coachable girls,” Zeibak said. “I loved the team. We had fun and we learned. Its nice to see when the players develop and learn the game of softball.”

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