Title Town; A breakdown of Clovis and Buchanan’s championship softball teams this past decade
Clovis Unified produced four D1 softball championship teams this past decade with Clovis leading the way with three and Buchanan one. The Cougars won titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018, adding to their championships in 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2007 under head coach Mike Noel. In fact, Noel is No. 10 in career wins in the state according to Cal-Hi Sports. Buchanan’s title in 2016 was its fifth in school history, winning in 1995, 1998, 2004 and 2009. Dean Gregory was an assistant for the first two before leading the team the last three.
Below you will find a comprehensive review of all four Clovis Unified schools that won a section championship between 2010-2019; the teams, the players, the records broken, and their road to the title. Other D1 Central Section champs include 2010 Stockdale, 2011 El Diamante, 2012 & 2013 Central, 2014 Centennial and 2019 Stockdale.
Overall record: 33-6
League record: 8-2
Coach: Mike Noel
Rankings: Cal-Hi Sports No. 18, MaxPreps National No. 22
Playoff run: No. 8 Liberty 4-1, No. 4 Bullard 2-0, No. 2 Central 2-0
The team: This team was on a mission from Day 1, attempting to return to Central Section glory by winning the school’s first title since 2007. Well, it was mission accomplished, led by a core group of seniors in Cayla Broussard, Camryn Reichle, MacKenzie Emmitt, Lyndsay Hathaway and Kennedy Diaz and budding freshman superstar pitcher Danielle Lung. Breaking a total of eight team records and setting four individual records, the Cougars eventually toppled nemesis Central for the title. After winning their first seven games of the season, they were tripped up in a few tournaments before going 8-2 in the rugged TRAC. The turning point in the season occurred after a 6-5 loss to Buchanan when the coaching staff decided to put Lung permanently in the circle, paving the way for a nine-game winning streak to finish the year. Lung responded by pitching every inning the rest of the way, throwing a no-hitter against Central at Clovis Diamond in a 2-0 title-clinching final. Broussard, before finishing a great four-year career at Azusa Pacific, was a mainstay at shortstop and the top of the order, setting a school record for stolen bases (32) and runs scored (49). The team collectively hit .365 with an on-base average of .448, scored 280 runs, and swiped 72 bases – all school records. Reichle, a strong-armed catcher, drove in a school-record 54 runs on 52 hits. The roster produced an amazing 12 players who would go on to play college softball.
- Cayla Broussard (SS, Sr.) .492 BA, .537 OBP, 59 hits, 49 runs and 32 SB (hits, runs and SBs all school records).
- Camryn Reichle (C, Sr.) .468 BA, 35 runs, 54 RBI (school record), two HR
- MacKenzie Emmitt (OF, Sr.) .362 BA, 38 runs, 20 RBI, 12 SB
- Alyssa Caballero (INF, Jr.) .351 BA, 26 runs, 38 RBI, six HR
- Kennedy Diaz (INF, Sr.) .394 BA, 29 runs, 13 RBI
- Lyndsay Hathaway (OF, Sr.) .385 BA, 28 runs, 7 SB
- Taylor Tiger (OF, Jr.) .309 BA, 23 runs, 16 RBI
- Brielle Vidmar (P, Sr.) 12-5, 1.94 ERA, 79 K, 104 innings, four shutouts
- Danielle Lung (P, Fr.) 21-1, 1.16 ERA, 141 K, 41 BB, 126 ⅓ innings, nine shutouts, one no-hitter (Central Section championship game)
The road to the title:
Seeded No. 1 the Cougars enjoyed every playoff game at home (the championship games were moved back to Bulldog Diamond in 2016). Game 1 against No. 8 Liberty was the only playoff game they were down, an early 1-0 hole after a Patriot home run in the second. However, that would be the only run Lung would give up in the playoffs. Clovis responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning highlighted by Reichle’s two-out, two-run single, eventually winning 4-1. In the semi-finals against Bullard, Lung would stave off a Bullard threat in the 7th inning, as Lung retired the final batter with runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs, making a two-out single by Kennedy Diaz in the second stand up for the 2-0 win.
In the final, they faced No. 2 Central and sophomore Gianna Macha’s .084 ERA and 22 wins. But Lung pitched one of the most impressive performances in Central Section playoff history, throwing a no-hitter with 10 strikeouts. Only a fifth inning walk prevented her from a perfect game. Allyssa Caballero blasted a solo shot in the fourth and the Cougars added an insurance run in the fifth when Broussard scored on a throwing error after a double steal. It was the Cougars’ eighth title in school history.
Overall record: 26-5
League record: 9-1
Coach: Dean Gregory
Rankings: Cal-Hi Sports No. 19, MaxPreps National No. 33
Playoff run: No. 8 Liberty-Bakersfield 11-1, No. 4 Stockdale 8-2, No. 2 Clovis 2-0
It all came together in 2016 for Buchanan with a strong group of seniors, solid pitching, and a disciplined lineup. Led by huge senior seasons from shortstop Sienna Swain (.523 batting average, 40 runs) and Spencer Sampson (10 home runs, 44 RBI) the Bears defeated rival Clovis 2-0 in the championship game, securing their first Central Section title since 2009. Sophomore pitcher Molly Millar had her best season in the circle, outdueling fellow sophomore Danielle Lung of Clovis twice, including 2-0 the championship game. The team also had big seasons from senior third baseman Faith Rousey, senior first baseman Starr Vang, the two Kaities – Jackson and January, both juniors, and sophomore catcher Anni Raley. The team stayed close to home all year but clicked when they swept Atascadero in a double-header in the middle of the year and then went 3-1 in the Arroyo Grande Tournament in late March, finishing with nine straight wins and 18 of its last 20. They hit .364 as a team, had an eye-popping 100:104 BB to strikeout ratio, and averaged 7.5 runs per game.
- Sienna Swain (SS, Sr.): .523 BA, 40 runs, 29 RBI, 12 2B, .560 OBP
- Spencer Samson (CF, Sr.): .386 BA, 39 runs, 44 RBI, 10 HR
- Hunter Samson (RF, Sr.): .333 BA, 19 runs, 10 RBI
- Katie Jackson (2B, Jr.): .396 BA, 29 runs, 15 RBI, 18 SB
- Faith Rousey (3B, Sr.): .421 BA, 24 runs, 31 RBI
- Starr Vang (1B, Sr.): .422 BA, 19 runs, 22 RBI, two HR
- Katie January (OF, Jr.): .283 BA, 20 runs, 17 RBI, 8-3 pitching record, 2.78 ERA
- Anni Raley (C, So.): .282 BA, 18 runs, 14 RBI
- Molly Millar (P, So.): 18-2, 1.58 ERA, 159 Ks, six shutouts, two saves
Road to the title:
The top-seed Bears breezed through the first two playoff games, blasting No. 8 Liberty-Bakersfield 11-1 and No. 4 Stockdale 8-2 behind the pitching of Millar – who threw every inning of the playoffs – and the torrid hitting of Fresno State signee Faith Rousey. To open the playoffs, Rousey went 2-3 with two runs and three RBI and Katie Jackson and Starr Vang each scored twice, capitalizing on five Patriot errors. Against the Mustangs, Rousey went 3-4 with four RBI, Kaitie Jackson collected three hits and three runs and Sienna Swain scored two runs, setting up a third meeting against No. 2 Clovis.
The finals at Margie Wright Diamond featured the much-anticipated pitching matchup of Millar and Danielle Lung, sophomores who had faced each other since their days at Alta Sierra and Clark Middle School. Buchanan jumped on the board in the second inning when the left-handed hitting Rousey sliced a ball down the left field line that got by the left fielder, resulting in a rare inside-the-park home run. The Bears would add a run in the third inning on a Swain two-out RBI single, scoring Hunter Samson who had walked and stolen second. Millar would tip-toe her way to the complete game shutout, giving up three hits, two walks and seven strikeouts for the school’s first title since 2009 and the fifth in school history.
Overall record: 25-6
League record: 8-2
Coach: Mike Noel
Rankings: Cal-Hi Sports No. 20, MaxPreps National No. 56
Playoff run: Defeated No. 5 Bullard 4-3, No. 1 Stockdale 4-2, No. 2 Central 2-1
The team: Though not as explosive as the 2015 squad (or 2018 as you’ll read later) the Cougars second championship of the decade featured a solid group of players, riding the arm of junior Danielle Lung who pitched all but 20 innings of the 31-game season. They won 16 of their first 17 games before losing at Central 2-1 on April 19, then lost three out of four at the NorCal Classic during Spring Break, finally winning 7 of 8 to close the year. This team was dubbed “The Redemptive Team” as they grinded through the playoffs as the No. 4 seed, avenging a 6-1 Bullard loss and two losses at the hands of Central. But the third matchup versus the Grizzlies was the one that mattered, defeating Central 2-1 for the Central Section championship for the second time in three years. Junior catcher Jordyn Martinez was the centerpiece of the offense – striking out only four times in 100 official at bats to go along with a team-leading 26 RBI while another junior, shortstop Tori Mueller, led with 27 runs. The team hit .311 overall but played its best softball at the end in a season Lung registered an ERA of 1.04 with 24 wins. Coach Noel was named the 2017 Cal-Hi Sports Softball Coach of the Year.
- Jordyn Martinez (C, Sr.) .390 BA, 18 runs, 26 RBI, four HR
- Grace Henson (3B, Sr.) .349 BA, 12 runs, 21 RBI
- Ashley Kincaid (OF, Sr.) .322 BA, 18 runs, 23 RBI
- Mackenzie Byrd (OF, Sr.) .313 BA, 21 runs, 19 RBI
- Emily Puente (1B, Jr.) .301 BA, 19 runs, 25 RBI, seven HR
- Tori Mueller (SS, Jr.) .292 BA, 27 runs, 14 RBI, 7 2B, 8 SB
- Danielle Lung (P, Jr.) 24-4, 1.04, 263 Ks, 35 BB, 112 hits, 182 innings, 10 shutouts
The road to the title:
The No. 4 Cougars faced a tough road ahead of them, starting with Bullard in Round 1. The Knights wasted no time with a home run to lead off the game but Clovis answered with a Jordyn Martinez sac fly in the bottom of the inning. Danielle Lung helped herself out with an RBI single in the 4th inning for a 2-1 lead. A two-run single by Grace Henson extended the lead to 4-1 in the 5th inning. Bullard would get as close to 4-3 but Lung slammed the door in the 7th inning setting up a date at No. 1 Stockdale. That’s when Clovis jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the 4th inning on an Elaine Caballero RBI single in the 2nd, a two-run single from Jenna Scarborough in the 3rd, and a Jordyn Martinez single in the 4th. The Mustangs would hit back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the 4th to cut the lead to 4-2 but Lung would pitch shutout ball the rest of the game.
In the dramatic final – a rematch of 2015 – Lung was again matched up with Boise State signee Gianna Macha and the game would not disappoint. Locked in a 1-1 tie into the top of the 7th inning, Lung singled and Coryn Chiramonte pinch ran. After Tori Mueller sacrificed her to second base, Ashley Kincaid hit a one-out RBI single for the winning run. Lung won her second start in a Central Section, throwing a 2-hitter with 11 strikeouts and three walks for her 24th win of the season. Around the same time the game ended, the Clovis baseball team upset No. 1 Buchanan to win the D1 title at Rawhide Stadium in Visalia.
Overall record: 30-2
League record: 10-0
Coach: Mike Noel
Rankings: Cal-Hi Sports No. 4, MaxPreps National No. 21
Playoff run: No. 8 Hanford West 1-0, No. 4 Stockdale 2-0, No. 2 Buchanan 6-3
Loaded from top to bottom with very few weaknesses, the 2018 team featured a star-studded senior class that wouldn’t be denied, winning their third D1 Central Section title in a four-year span. In a season they mashed a school record 31 home runs and committed only 19 errors, the Cougars rode the arm of All-State pitcher Danielle Lung in her senior swan song before heading to Fresno State. They lost only two games – both games not started by Lung in SoCal – and made a strong case to finish No. 1 in the state. They also went 10-0 during league – a feat not accomplished since Madera (yes, Madera) in 2008. Lung cemented herself among legendary Clovis pitchers Amanda Scott and Jamie Southern, finishing the year a perfect 25-0, a 0.76 ERA, and a 270:24 strikeout to walk ratio. Senior shortstop Tori Mueller hit .510 and led the team with 34 runs, senior Emily Puente blasted nine HRs and her sophomore sister Allie hit seven. Senior catcher Jordyn Martinez led with 36 RBI and seven home runs. As a team they slugged .505 and finished with the best winning percentage in school history.
- Tori Mueller (SS, Sr.): .510 BA, 34 runs, 53 hits, (all singles!), 9 SBs
- Emily Puente (1B, Sr.): .464 BA, .881 SLG, 30 RBI, 9 HR
- Jordyn Martinez (C, Sr.): .452 BA, .721 SLG, 35 RBI, 7 HR, 5 strikeouts and two walks
- Grace Henson (3B, Sr.): .384 BA, 19 RBI
- Maddie Arnold (OF, Fr.): .364 BA, 21 runs, 14 RBI,
- Jenna Scarborough (INF, Sr.): .297 BA, 17 RBI, 4 HR
- Allie Puente (OF, So.): .278 BA, 13 runs, 24 RBI, 7 HR
- Ashley Kincaid (OF, Sr.): .265 BA, 27 runs, 14 RBI,
- Danielle Lung (P, Sr.): 25-0, 0.76 ERA, 166 innings, 270 Ks, 13 shutouts, two no-hitters
The road to the title:
The Cougars deservedly received the top seed but had a scare against a tough Hanford West team to open playoffs, holding on for a 1-0 win behind Lung’s 1-hitter with 10 Ks. Jenna Scarborough provided the only offense needed when she singled in pinch runner Ashley Garza in the 4th inning. Next was No. 4 Stockdale, who no doubt had revenge on their mind after knocking them out in last year’s playoffs. But again Lung was too much, firing a shutout with eight Ks and zero walks. Mueller led off the game with a triple and was singled in by Kincad. In the 4th inning, Martinez singled to drive in Kincaid for the Cougars’ scoring setting up a rematch with league rival Buchanan and star pitcher Molly Millar, the winning pitcher on the 2016 championship team.
Most thought the championship game would be a pitching duel, but the Cougars jumped on Stanford-bound Millar for four runs in the bottom of the second inning when Clovis loaded the bases. Mueller walked to bring in a run and Martinez hit a two-run single which was misplayed, allowing all three runners to score. But the Bears would answer off Lung in the 5th inning, scoring with two outs on back-to-back singles. However, Allie Puente blasted a two-run triple in the bottom of the frame for a 6-2 lead. In the 6th inning, Buchanan loaded the bases and scored on a sac fly, but Lung recorded a punch-out to end the inning. She would go on to record the final three outs for the school’s third section title of the decade and eighth overall, all under Coach Noel.