Perez keeps it in the family


For The Madera Tribune

Madera three-sport athlete Sofia Perez shows off her college choice for next season. She will play softball, in addition to volleyball at York College.

With her older sister a graduate of the school and her aunt the head softball coach, it was almost inevitable that Madera Coyotes softball standout Sofia Perez would attend York College to play softball.

However, that wasn’t the case, but she ended up there after all.

“It took a while to decide to go to York,” Perez said. “Once I got to talking with (sister) Brianna (Perez), I was more open to it. She told me if I was open and willing to try and do things, I would do fine out there. I’m a pretty outgoing person and like to be involved in a lot of things. I think it will be a perfect fit for me. Once I got to get that feel about how campus life was going to be, it wasn’t a hard decision to go.”

Perez, who was the County/Metro Athletic Conference Softball Player of the Year and Madera Tribune’s co-Most Valuable Player last season, also had considerations from Jackson State University and La Sierra University.

“Their (Jackson State) coach wanted to schedule an official visit, but I never really wanted to leave California,” Perez said. “If I did leave California, it was to go to York. I wanted to stay in California, but I wanted to expand my horizons. York is definitely that. I feel like I’ll fit in better at York than at La Sierra in California. York is a small school rather than being at a really big school.”

Sofia’s sister, Brianna, was an NAIA All-American at York and was coached by aunt and former Coyote Roni (Arellano) Miller.

“It’s really cool,” Sofia said. “I’m looking forward to it and excited for it. Everyone is bummed school ended, now all I can focus on getting ready to leave. I know my aunt will help a lot. Brianna has been helping me out a lot with how classes and how dorms will go. I’m excited about that.”

Perez continues the Madera pipeline to York College. In addition to Perez, Emily Chavira played softball one year for York. Currently, there are two other Madera athletes at the college — basketball player Hakeem Primes and baseball player Aaron Vallez, both from Madera South. There were also two other Madera South athletes recently at the school — Junior Segura for cross country and track and Makayla Martinez for soccer — and another just finished her senior season — soccer goalkeeper Cassandra Martinez from Madera South.

“There are a lot of Madera kids there,” Perez said. “I’m not too familiar with people who have gone there. I think more kids from Madera South has gone there and they enjoyed it. Junior Segura really enjoyed it. His girlfriend Makayla Martinez had a relationship with my aunt so they knew each other very well.”

Although Perez, a three sport athlete at Madera, has committed to play softball at York, she will also have the opportunity to play volleyball.

“I am goint there for softball, but the volleyball coach saw my film and told me that if I went there to play softball, I could play volleyball, too,” Perez said. “I thought that’s going to work out. I know they have setters. They have a junior setter coming in that signed from a junior college. I’m not expecting anything big in volleyball out there. It’s just fun to be on the team. It’s a fun team sport whether you are playing or not.”

Perez plans to get her degree to become a high school teacher and a coach. She has said, on multiple occasions, that she was going to take over for current coach Judy Shaubach.

There are a couple of major adjustments Perez will have to make during her time at York. She doesn’t like cold weather and being in Nebraska, it is bound to snow. Also, her family are a fixture at all of her sporting events.

“I would rather it be 110 degrees than snowing,” she said. “I don’t like snow and cold at all. Everyone I’ve talked to said I’ll get used to it and will love it. Hopefully, that works out.

“Not having my family there is going to be hard. I’m assuming I’ll adjust to it. I’m going to have to. My family has been there for everything. I don’t think they’ve missed a game. That will be hard to adjust to. I think I’ll be okay. If I ever need that family feel, I can go to my aunt’s house.”

Although Perez’s senior season was cut short by the pandemic, she only wishes she could see how the year would have played out. Because of basketball, she only appeared in six of the team’s 12 games. She batted .375 with seven RBIs in those six games.

“It was hard to end the season,” she said. “I think this team was really good. Noodles (Alexis Galvan) came along with her pitching. Our defense was better with Camile (Nunez) back playing multiple positions. She could play infield or outfield. I think our line-up got strong with Belen (Gomez) and Amanda (Garza) doing well. We were ranked second when we finished. It’s hard to think about because we could have done really well. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

In addition, it was the last season she could play with her sister, Erika, who is a junior.

“That is the hardest part about the season ending, playing with my sister,” she said. “I’m glad we got to spend basketball season together. I think Erika is pretty upset and has to finish the last two years without me. It’s going to be hard for her, but she’s used to playing with other girls.”

Perez is part of a senior softball class that may have all five play softball in college next season and four at a four-year school.

“It’s really cool,” she said. “I wish we all could have signed together. It was supposed to be Monday. We have all played together since we were little and had the same goal. We all found schools that were perfect for us. I know these girls better than anybody else and I think the schools they picked was perfect for them.”

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