Home All Sports 2024 Cuesta Softball season recap

2024 Cuesta Softball season recap

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2024 Cuesta Softball Team. Photo by Cuesta Athletics
2024 Cuesta Softball Team. Photo by Cuesta Athletics

The Cuesta College Softball team concluded their season with a 4-0 loss in the CCCAA Regional Playoffs to the 15th-seeded College of the Canyons.

Following a 2023 season where the Cougars disappointingly missed the playoffs due to a tiebreaker, the team returned driven to accomplish their goal of making the postseason. Despite this year’s early playoff exit, the team had an incredible 2024 regular season, boasting a record of 22-15 and securing a playoff spot for the first time since 2015. 

Although community college sports are typically a two-year program for players, the team was fortunate to have nine total sophomores on the roster, with eight of them returning from the previous year. Head Coach Jenel Guadagno credits the continuity as a major aspect to get over the playoff hump.

“A lot of our success is based around our sophomores,” Guadagno said. “We didn’t get in, but we were right there and got the taste of it, so we definitely had a lot more motivation going into this season.”

The 2023 Cuesta Softball team had an eerily similar record to this season. With a regular season record of 23-15, the team had a better overall record, but their conference record (10-5) was the difference between making the playoffs. This year, the Cougars had a record of 11-3 within their conference, which pushed the team over the hump.

Along with a better conference record, the team was also much more efficient at winning home games. With a home record of 10-6 compared to a 10-11 mark last year, Guadagno recognized the importance of taking care of business when it matters.

“We were definitely road warriors this year,” Guadagno said. “It felt like we were on the road a majority of the time and when we got to our home games, we were happy to be home and we just took care of business.”

Chemistry was also a common theme this season for both the players and the coaches. Returning sophomore and pitcher Isabella Garcia pointed out the importance of getting along with teammates and playing in the right environment.

“I feel like we all really respect each other as players and that’s very important because I’ve been on some teams that haven’t been that way before,” Garcia said. “Being on this team has definitely made me better especially as a player and trusting my team and knowing that we’re going to get the job done for each other and ourselves.”

Isabella Garcia pitching. Photo by Cuesta Athletics
Isabella Garcia pitching. Photo by Cuesta Athletics

While Garcia and others were building team chemistry over their two-year tenure, Guadagno and the other assistant coaches have been doing the same between themselves.

“I’m gonna give a lot of credit to my assistant coaches because they come in every day and they help out and they truly are the backbone of this team,” Guadagno said. “We all support each other and having good people on staff has made a big difference.”

Unfortunately, the Cuesta Softball team will not be holding any trophies this year, but Guadagno is confident her team will continue to improve and make the playoffs regularly. Despite the 2024 team benefitting from a heavy sophomore crowd, Guadagno understands the challenges of coaching a new group each year.

“Every year is a brand new team with new teammates, new personalities, people that come in with different abilities and skills and we have a short amount of time to get them to gel as a unit and get them going,” Guadagno said. “So it’s definitely challenging because you do have a new team every single year, but we’ve set a really high standard and we’ve continued to get better.”

The 2024 season was a success for Guadagno and her players. By getting their first playoff berth since 2015, the future is bright for the Cougars as Guadagno looks forward to coaching her eighth season.

“We’re proud of our student athletes and what they do,” Guadagno said. “We’re there to support them, give them the resources, but at the end of the day, those athletes are showing up every single day. They’re putting in the work and they’ll see success.” 

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