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June 10, 2009 > Ohlone Softball lands prize recruit

Ohlone Softball lands prize recruit

By Biff Jones
Photos By Nancy Varady

Even before the current season ends, college coaches have to hit the recruiting trail to be able to compete the following season in their chosen sport. For Ohlone College Renegades' softball Head Coach Donna Runyon, this year was no different even though her team advanced to the California State Community College Tournament for the first time.

At the community college level, coaches usually only get to keep their players for two years, three at the most if a player uses a red shirt and does not play one year. Coach Runyon will lose most of her starting infield from 2009 plus her number one battery, including the Renegades ace pitcher, Kelly Colker, the Tri-City Voice Female Athlete of the Month in May.

Along Coach Runyon's recruiting trail, which included scouting high school softball games, she came across a senior pitcher from the Livermore High Cowboys named Jessica Varady. All the 5-foot-4, 123 pound Varady did was lead her Cowboy teammates to the North Coast Section (NCS) Division I 2009 softball championship.

She pitched Livermore to a 10-0 victory over Newark Memorial in the quarterfinals, giving up just two hits while striking out six in four innings of work in the five-inning, mercy-rule game. After the Lady Cowboys defeated East Bay Athletic League (EBAL) rival, Foothill, 6-3, in the semifinals, Varady shut out Freedom High, 2-0, in the championship game, retiring the first 11 batters, giving up three hits in seven innings. Livermore finished the season with a 25-2 record.

Varady is the daughter of Nancy and Scott Varady and has an older sister, Andrea, who played softball the last two years at Patton College. Andrea will transfer to Cal State East Bay this fall and does not yet know if she will continue to play softball.

Besides playing softball, Varady enjoys art, working out and hanging out with her friends. Her favorite subject is field biology and possible careers she is considering is kinesiology and sports medicine.

When it came to choosing which college to attend, Varady narrowed her choices to Ohlone and Sonoma State. She decided to start out at Ohlone and then move on to a four-year school. She will be able to live at home while attending Ohlone and then choose a major in which to receive her bachelor's degree after two years of mostly general education courses.

Ohlone will battle Sonoma State in their preseason schedule next year. Should Ohlone schedule a contest with CSEB, it would mark the first time the Varady sisters have faced each other (if Andrea continues playing).

Coach Runyon and Ohlone softball appears to have found a viable replacement for Colker on the hill for 2010. It didn't hurt in the recruiting process that Varady's current boyfriend is a member of the record-setting Ohlone baseball team.

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