SBCC softball team will see its first official action on Friday, playing Saddelback at Pershing Park at 3 p.m. in its first game since March of 2020.

That season ended early after being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic through just 16 games. This year’s team will be the first full season of play under former Vaquero player Jasmyne Perry, who was named head coach almost 17 months ago.

“We’re really excited. We have a really good group of girls and they mesh well together which is really nice. Not a lot of teams that I know of can do that,” Perry said. “We have a small team this year, but I think that will benefit us.

The only holdover from the 2020 team is outfielder Natalie Depasquale. She is part of a group this year that Perry has lauded for pitching depth and flexibility, despite having only 13 players on the roster.

“We have a handful of pitchers. I think that the staff as a whole is going to work really well together,” Perry said. “In years past, at least for our program, we haven’t had a handful of pitchers, and I can say pretty strongly that we have three solid ones, so I’m really excited about that.”

“We also have two catchers that both can play any position, which is really nice. I think that the utility of our team is great. Anyone can play any position for the most part and I think that’s really awesome to have, especially if someone has to miss a game for whatever reason, somebody can fill in their spot which is really nice.”

Perry hopes that the team’s chemistry and collective understanding will be one of its strengths.

“The California junior colleges and athletics as a whole have a lot of unique opportunities. You have girls that are out there wanting to move on and play in their collegiate career and you have girls that are just out there for fun,” she said. “I like that our team mixes that really well, where the girls that want to move on in their collegiate career to bigger and better things are out there pushing themselves, but also understanding that not everyone’s going to be doing the exact same thing, which is pretty cool.”

On the coaching side of things, Perry shared her excitement for what assistant coach Janet Salas and strength coach Monica Salas – who played Division I softball at New Mexico – bring to the team.

“They both bring something unique and it’s really nice to have them. Monica Salas is not only our strength coach, she brings a lot to the table. In the fall, all of our strength and conditioning course was based on everything she came up with. She brings an energy that I think is needed and the girls really look up to her.”

SBCC opens the year with five home games, beginning with Friday’s 3:00 p.m. game against Saddleback. After that, the Vaqueros wil host doubleheaders against Taft (Feb. 3) and San Bernardino Valley (Feb. 5) before heading on the road.

Other non-conference home games will be played on Feb. 23 (Citrus) and Mar. 4 (LA Harbor DH). Western State Conference play begins in a Mar. 4 home doubleheader against LA Harbor.