By Kyle Foster, photo courtesy of Napa High School
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
A foursome of Napa High student-athletes signed a National Letter of Intent Wednesday to keep their sporting careers going at the collegiate level.
Everyone who signed was very excited about signing with their friends alongside them.
“I’m very excited, not only for myself, but for Andrew, Brianna, and Peyton because I’ve seen hard they work, and they really deserve it, so I’m happy to see their hard work paying off,” said Napa softball catcher Katie O’Donnell.
“Oh it’s amazing to see the girls I’ve grown up with and played with and just see all the effort they’ve put in and all the time — like it really takes blood, sweat, and tears, and to see all that and to see it pay off in such a way — I’m just so proud of them, and words can’t explain how just proud I am of them,” Napa softball left fielder Brianna Bowers said of signing with everyone else.
“It means a lot honestly just it’s been a lot of hard work for the last four years, and then our school also the last couple of years had a lot of just bad things happen to it, so it’s nice to just have something to look forward to and just a lot of hard work and dedication has been paid off by all four of us because I know we’ve all put in many years of work and just summers of traveling everywhere and it’s nice to see it finally pay off,” Napa baseball starting pitcher/first baseman Andrew Raymond said.
“Oh yeah, I’m really excited for not only myself, but for Bri and Katie both too,” Napa softball first baseman Peyton Mott said of signing with Bowers and O’Donnell.
Bowers is off to Sacramento State University.
“It really means the world to me, and it shows all the hard work and effort it takes to put in, and it’s very rewarding to see all time and everything I’ve been putting in just pay off, and in such a way,” Bowers said of signing with Sacramento State.
She had a few other offers. Minnesota, UC Berkeley, Missouri, and North Dakota were others interested in Bowers.
“Sac State was just the one for me,” she explained.
Sacramento State is currently 27-17 with a 12-6 record in the Big Sky Conference.
Over her four-year stint on the varsity softball team she’s been a mainstay at the top of the order. In her freshman and sophomore seasons she was the teams leadoff hitter, and in her junior and senior seasons she’s been the number two batter.
Last season Bowers batted an impressive .512, had 20 RBIs, and stole 23 bases.
So far this season she’s batting .529, has driven in 27 runs, and stolen 14 bases.
She is undecided as to what she’ll major in at Sacramento State.
Mott will be attending Dominican University-San Rafael next year.
“I’m very excited — I didn’t think I was going to be able to play softball next year, so it’s really exciting to know that I still get to play and continue my career there,” Mott said of playing at Dominican.
This past season the Penguins went 17-35 and had a 8-24 record in the PacWest Conference. Dominican is a NCAA division III institution.
When Mott gets there she’ll be an outfielder.
Another four-year varsity starter in softball she’s been one of the Indians most important players in the middle of the batting order and at first base.
Mott hit .340 last season, and had 27 RBIs last season for the Indians.
During the current season she’s hitting .551, with 34 RBIs, and six home runs. She recently hit a homer in the second game against Armijo on April 25th, a 25-4 win and against Vacaville on March 23rd an 8-3 win.
She’ll major in business.
O’Donnell’s next stop is the University of Chicago.
“I’m really excited to go there and compete, not only athletically, but also academically because everybody there is fighting to get the best grades and all of that, so I’m looking forward to that, O’Donnell said of attending University of Chicago. “And it’ll be nice to be surrounded by people who are a lot like me who are both driven athletically and academically where as sometimes at other schools they’re just driven just for sports or just for academics.”
The Maroons had a record 20-17. They’re a NCAA division II school.
Another four-year starter, she’s been another key to Napa High’s recent success on the softball field.
Last season she was .263 hitter, and had 15 RBIs. During last year’s campaign she also hit one homer.
So far during the current season she’s hitting .452 to go along with the 21 RBIs she has. She’s also hit two home runs on the season. She hit a homer in the first day of Napa’s spring tournament, which was key to them going 2-0 that day.
She will be majoring in economics or neuroscience when she gets to the University of Chicago.
Willamette of Salem, Oregon is where Raymond will be at next fall.
“I want to continue playing baseball for as long as I can and just ride this out and whenever this ends it ends, so I just wanted to play this game for as long as I can,” Raymond said of signing with Willamette. “Willamette was a place where I could get a good education and also play some baseball, so it was the best of both worlds for me.”
The Bearcats just completed their season with a record of 28-17. They won the Northwest Conference with a record of 15-9. Willamette is a NCAA division III school.
“It’s very exciting to be another student-athlete at a college, and just get to represent my new school and I’m going to go out there and compete as hard as I can and represent the school as best as I possibly can,” Raymond added on playing for a successful Bearcat program.
Raymond is Napa’s ace pitcher this season to go along with being their starting first baseman. This season he’s hitting .255 and has nine RBIs. On the mound this season he’s compiled a 6-2 record with 3.05 ERA in 41.1 innings pitched.
Raymond has had two marvelous performances on the mound this season: On March 8th he threw a complete game shutout against American Canyon, April 5th he had a complete game Big Game shutout over Vintage, and April 17th a 3-2 win over Vacaville were some of his best efforts.
He’s going to be majoring in environmental science and pre-law at Willamette.