'We are going in confident': 16th seed Yuba College opens North Regional at No. 1 SJ Delta today

May 2—For the first time since 2017, the Yuba College softball team has made the California Community College Athletic Association's Northern California Regionals as a conference champion.

Just like seven seasons ago, the 49ers earned a No. 16 seed to take on the North's No. 1 seeded San Joaquin Delta in a best-two-of-three series starting today (Friday) on the road.

All games will be played at the higher seed, according to the 3C2A.

Facilities without lights will play game one today at 2 p.m., followed by game two at noon on Saturday and a winner take-all game three set for 2 p.m. on Saturday. Stadiums with lights will open Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a Saturday doubleheader at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. (the latter if necessary).

For Yuba (22-14), coached this year by Brian Seva, the task to come away victorious is challenging but one that the team is taking head-on with some of the hottest hitters in the state. Faith Epperson, a product of Sutter Union High School, is one of three Yuba players who finished over .400 on the year, hitting a Golden Valley Conference leading .472. Epperson was a 3C2A North all-state pick and should be a tough out at SJ Delta, followed by Jerzie Brown (.468) and Aaliyah Tinoco (.402).

"All season long we have focused on our game and had the mindset that the other team needs to stop us from what we do in order to beat us," Seva said. "We have won 16 of our last 17 games. I am not trying to outthink that at this point. We have nothing to lose and are going in confident."

Yuba will likely face North Pitcher of the Year Ariel Nava for much of the weekend. Nava posted a 27-3 record with two saves and ranks second in the state with 199 strikeouts and a 1.29 ERA.

Nava, Delta competed and dominated in one of the toughest conferences in California, finishing 22-2 in the Big-8. Meanwhile, Yuba College went 15-5 in the GVC, outdueling College of the Siskiyous (13-7) for the automatic bid and lone berth out of the conference.

Tinoco was one of the catalysts behind Yuba's surge in the GVC, finishing No. 1 in home runs (8) and RBI (37) through 36 games.

"We have the eighth-ranked offense in the state. We do not strike out much and are aggressive," Seva said. "Our leadoff hitter, Epperson, leads the state in stolen bases. She and Jerzie Brown are in the top 10 in the state in batting average. Aaliyah Tinoco is seventh in the state with 8 home runs. Our entire lineup does a great job of making things happen on offense."

Seva, in his first year at Yuba College, called the season a "journey," that began with only nine players in the fall.

"Every time someone would slide, we would hold our breath because we were one injury away from not playing," Seva said. "We only had 3 returners from last year, and since we as a staff are in our first year at Yuba, we all had to figure each other out. Our girls are all local. They are proud of the area where they grew up and want to prove that this area has the talent to compete with anyone."

During Yuba's last conference title — the program's first as a school — head coach Stephanie Reynolds led the charge as the 49ers went 19-17 and 18-0 in the Bay Valley Conference. Yuba was eliminated that year by No. 1 College of San Mateo.

As always, this weekend marks the opening round where teams vie for bids into the eight-team 3C2A Softball Championships, scheduled for May 16-19 at West Valley College.

3C2A does not stream regionals

Fans are reminded that the 3C2A does not stream regional round competition and fans are advised to only access stream links through official school websites or verified social media accounts, 3C2A said in a release.

Fraudulent social media accounts seeking credit card information, including those purporting to be from the 3C2A, are prolific and should not be followed or utilized, the release stated.