Recognize Bay Area

Updated: March 26, 2009, 5:04 PM ET
ESPN RISE Magazine

Softball - Deer Valley

The Deer Valley softball team was anticipating its postseason matchup with Freedom last year. Freedom had won two regular season meetings by a combined four runs and earned the top seed in the NCS 3A East Bay bracket, while Deer Valley was seeded fourth and playing its best ball of the season. But something unexpected happened one round before the scheduled rematch  the Wolverines lost. Deer Valley was upended by No. 5 seed James Logan, 8-5, and Freedom went on to win the sectional title. "I don't know if we were looking ahead," says Deer Valley coach Amy Tillson. "I know that we went out there and played one of our worst games of the season. If we played like that against Freedom, we would've gotten killed anyway." That's why the team is focused on finishing strong in 2009. The Wolverines are one of the best teams in the Bay Area, thanks to the presence of All-American Emily Allard. Allard is coming off a 16-5 season in which she struck out 145 batters in 142.1 innings and posted a 0.90 ERA, and she could make a difference in the postseason. "Emily can give us that unhittable game when we need it from her," says Tillson. She's also the top hitter in a deep lineup. Sophomores Staci Howard and Taylor Newhouse bolster the middle of the order and give Allard the kind of protection she'll need against top teams in the area  like Freedom.

Baseball - Monte Vista

After going 18-8 last year and falling to eventual East Bay champ College Park in the sectional playoffs, the Mustangs have returned as one of the most talented teams in the area. Five seniors have already signed with Division I college programs, with ace pitcher Mark Appel (Stanford) leading the way. Appel is backed by fellow pitchers Drew Bradshaw (San Jose State), Christian Jones (Oregon) and Joey Wagman (Cal Poly) and catcher Grant Saunders (Oregon).

Girls' Swimming - Las Lomas

The Knights took home the NCS team title last year on the strength of the relay squads, and most of the key performers are back this season. Las Lomas won section titles in three relays  the 200 free, the 200 medley and the 400 free. Senior Chrissy Thomas swam legs in the 200 free and 200 medley, and she will be supported by junior Kasey Carlson. Carlson is the defending champ in the 100 free and the 100 breaststroke.

Boys' Tennis - Palo Alto

The 2009 season looks promising for the Paly boys' tennis team. Sensational sophomore Baramee Wongbanchai has taken over the No. 1 singles spot, and he's living up to his high rankings has him at No. 98 nationally in the Class of 2011. Senior Sam Wong is building off his successful 2008 campaign and giving the team a legitimate presence in the No. 2 slot.


GIRLS' TRACK  APTOS Junior Marissa Ferrante is a dynamic distance runner. BASEBALL  LOS GATOS Senior Cal Poly recruit Kevin Corey is an All-CCS shortstop. SOFTBALL  SAN RAMON VALLEY Sophomore SS Sara Pacioni started as a freshman and might be the area's next star. BOYS' TRACK  ST. FRANCIS The Lancers have a top sprinter in junior Glyn Borel.