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Former Sierra, Thunder star will play for Sonoma State

Vanyi was named top JC softball player in state
By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Softball star Rochelle Vanyi will enter her third college in three seasons later this year. She has left a major impression on her first two softball programs. Vanyi, a Rocklin High graduate, was a star at Youngstown State University as a freshman and she just completed a record-breaking season at Sierra College this spring. Now Vanyi will play softball on a partial scholarship at Sonoma State University. Vanyi, who primarily played shortstop and centerfield at Sierra, led the Wolverines (44-15 overall) to a second-place finish in the state while leading the state in batting average (.550), hits (94), home runs (21), RBIs (74), slugging percentage (1.135) and on base percentage (.620). She shattered the school record for homers and RBIs, stole 25 bases in 28 attempts and played in all 59 games. She was named the Player of the Year for junior college players in California and was the MVP of the Big 8 Conference, among many other honors. Vanyi, who also played some third base and first base, was the major reason why the Wolverines had their best season in school history. Vanyi wasn’t sure what to expect when she left Youngstown State (Ohio) and returned to Rocklin to live with her parents (Dave and Scarlett Vanyi) for her sophomore year of college. “I was back at home with all the rules and not on my own,” Vanyi said. “And coming from a DI (program) to a JC you’d think that DI would be better but I had a different experience. And I thought my JC team could have beaten the DI team.” Scarlett Vanyi enjoyed having her daughter back home. “Rochelle is just a pleasure as a person (to be around) and to see her excel athletically the way we knew she would has been a lot of fun,” Scarlett said. “And doing it in her hometown in front of everybody has been icing on the cake. We expected her to do very well but you never expect her to be the top dog on so many stats.” Vanyi signed with Sonoma well before her sophomore season started. “I wasn’t expecting any of that (her monster numbers this season, player of the year, etc.), that’s one of the reasons I signed early,” Vanyi said. “I didn’t know how good of a season I would have or if I would get injured so I took a chance and signed early. But I love Sonoma so it’s all right.” She signed with Sonoma on Nov. 19. “We played them in the fall at their home tournament and the coach (Jaime Wallin) saw me play. Previously (while still in high school) I had talked to her about playing at Sonoma and she was still interested,” Vanyi said. Vanyi finishes her summer-school session at Sierra College Thursday and she will head to Sonoma in August. She will be a kinesiology major and plans on being a softball coach and P.E. teacher after college. Vanyi had a very successful freshman season at Youngstown before heading back home because she was homesick and tired of the cold weather. She started every game as a freshman, setting the Youngstown homer record (11) while batting .317 with a slugging percentage of 627. She placed near the top of the Horizon League in several categories and was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer team. Vanyi chuckles while talking about attending her third college in three years. “I’ve thought about it. I played ASA (ball) when I was younger and a lot of people would say it’s really bad to switch teams so much because college teams will look at that and think I would switch schools,” Vanyi said. “And you look now and they were right.”