Vaqueros to open Regional on Saturday

With another honor in her burgeoning collection, Kailey Snyder is ready to lead the SBCC Vaqueros into the Southern Cal Regional softball playoffs on Saturday at No. 7 Santa Ana. Snyder, who was already named the WSC Gold Division and Southern Cal Pitcher of the Year, has been selected as an All-American.

The sophomore right-hander set school records for wins (27-4) and strikeouts (233) while compiling a 0.94 ERA. She also leads the Vaqueros in batting at .478.

Santa Barbara (31-5) has won six straight and eight of its last nine. The Vaqueros scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh and beat Hancock 7-6 on Laura Cannon’s 3-run walk-off homer in their regular-season finale on April 26.

The little things could make all the difference for 10th-seeded SBCC in its first trip to the Regionals in five years. The best-of-3 series gets under way on Saturday at 2 p.m. with the WSC champion Vaqueros taking on the Dons (26-14), the fifth-place team from the Orange Empire League.

“Our energy is positive and high,” said Paula Congleton, who was named Coach of the Year in the WSC Gold Division. “The kids know this weekend is about everything we have worked for. Our practices have featured a good work ethic, commitment, and an attitude of courage and belief that there are no limitations to what we can achieve.

“We must do the little things right. Field the ball, throw the ball. See the ball, hit the ball. If we can do the little things right, that will make a big difference in the game.”

Congleton added that her team needs to keep pressure on Santa Ana and be ready to make adjustments.

The Vaqueros are ranked No. 7 in Southern Cal and Santa Ana is No. 8.

The Dons, winners of 12 of their last 15, are led by sophomore pitcher Shelly Tait (17-11, 1.93 ERA), who’s batting .389 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs. Shortstop Hannah Dowling leads the squad with a .484 average.