SCC softball emphasizes winning both in the classroom and on the diamond

First-year coach Freddy Cabanillas has made classroom success a priority for his players

Ole Olafson, Senior Audio Producer, Scottsdale Chronicle

The Artichokes softball team has started a new season with a new coaching staff and a new commitment towards excellence in academics.  

Head Coach Freddy Cabanillas enters his first season at SCC with assistant coaches Kylie Christman, Breona Peralta and Jared Sotelo Jr. and Sr. Both Christman and Peralta are former players at SCC.  Christman also played at Western New Mexico University and Arizona Christian College and continues to pursue a nursing degree at SCC through Arizona State University. She’s enjoying coaching her sister Callie who is a sophomore on the team.  Peralta has an associate degree from SCC and a Bachelor of Science degree from ASU which she earned while playing for the Sun Devils.

Honor Roll Students now dominate the Artichoke softball roster and Cabanillas is serious about keeping it that way.

“We’re not looking for average,” Cabanillas said.  “We had 10 honor roll students this past semester (fall 2016) and we want 100 percent Honor Roll.  That’s what we’re striving for.”

Christman is impressed with the team’s academic progress.

“Last year, their team grade point average was like 2.5,” she said. “This year they’ve bumped it up.  It’s a 3.1 average for a team, which is absolutely amazing from last year to this year. We’re really stressing that academics come first and then you’re an athlete.”

“One thing that I stress a lot is grades,” Peralta said. “Grades take you a long way.  Because after your softball is over it’s your education you’re left with.  You’re not going to play softball the rest of your life.”

Cabanillas said that all his athletes are encouraged to work closely with SCC’s Academic and Career Advisement Center and the school’s tutoring program to ensure that they meet their academic requirements and develop a plan to move on to the next level.

“We use all the tools we have available here at the college,” Cabanillas said.

Cabanillas said the team also plans to explore ways for the athletes to become involved in the community through “Artie’s Community for Service,” a student club at SCC.  The team has spent time teaching softball skills and interacting with area youth, while Peralta volunteers with “Save My Starving Children.”

“We have local kids,” Cabanillas said. “We have local pride.  And we’re trying to get more of a local face to it.”

Artichoke softball opened on Jan. 31 at Mesa.  There are four games scheduled “Under the Lights”: Feb. 11, March 13, 14 and 18.  The team’s final home game is April 25 against Chandler-Gilbert Community College.  They will wrap up their regular season at Phoenix College on April 29.  All home games are played at the softball field in the Arthur W. DeCabooter Athletic Complex at SCC.