One kid’s going to Villanova to play volleyball.
Another is set for softball at Stanford.
Brandon Ford had two softball players from two different high school campuses.
St. Mary’s College is, in fact, getting two ball players from Redlands.
There’s more. A golfer to Point Loma. Barely. Two more softball players, one to Cal-Berkeley, another to California Baptist in nearby Riverside.
All of which jolted the prep landscape during last week’s National Letter of Intent signing day throughout a trio of Redlands-based public high schools.
Redlands East Valley’s Oziomachukwu Ozonoh — that’s Ozzie to her teachers, coaches and friends — got what she wanted when Villanova snapped her up for its volleyball program last September. That’s Sept. 2019!
Citrus Valley’s dynamic softball duo — Mika Lee and Ella Nadeau — will be honing their skills on both sides of the Bay Area beginning sometime next summer.
Lee’s headed for UC Berkeley, aka Cal.
Nadeau’s got Stanford, a place dubbed “The Farm.”
Both got their respective wishes. Get ready for a Bay Area rivalry.
Speaking of the Bay Area, both Redlands High’s softballer Lindsey Cabral and REV southpaw baseball pitcher Chase Dabbs have committed to St. Mary’s — Moraga, a city just outside of Oakland.
REV softball slugger Kenzie San Pedro chose nearby California Baptist University-Riverside, which has grown into an NCAA Division I program.
Golfer Tayler Muchmore, who got cheated out of winning her fourth straight Citrus Belt League girls’ crown with postponement of Fall 2019 sports (COVID-19), found some problems on the recruiting trail before happily winding up at Point Loma.
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Ford is the outgoing Redlands High/incoming Redlands East Valley High softball coach. He might’ve said it best: “A tip of the cap has to go to Redlands Unified. They’ve set up a nice academic trend here for athletes.”
Since Redlands hadn’t snagged itself Ford’s replacement, he felt compelled to work both ends — RHS’ Cabral heading to the Bay Area and REV’s San Pedro heading to nearby CBU.
“I was at Lindsay’s signing party,” said Ford. “(Former REV head coach) Debbie Garcia walked in and said Kenzie had signed with Cal Baptist. I kind of feel obligated to both kids right now.”
For those interested, there’ll be a few stories coming out of many of these kids in upcoming weeks. Curiously, there’s some interesting details about each one. Part of what you’ll read is their academic achievements.
“If you think for a second that grades don’t matter,” says Ozzie, pronounced O-Zee, “then you’re short-changing the process.”
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Dabbs, incidentally, will show up at the same campus that once housed another REV product. Infielder Zach Kirtley not only got his lone NCAA Division I offer from St. Mary’s, but he used that to launch himself into a three-year minor league career with the St. Louis Cardinals.
As for Dabbs, not too long ago, the Gaels named Josh Nashed as their pitching coach.
Just like everyone else, Dabbs faced the COVID wrath last spring. He only got 19 innings. But he didn’t surrender a single run, going 2-0 in that brief time slot.