Porterville College

2015 Porterville College Academic and Athletic Achievement Awards

Rookie of the Year – Davy Baltus (Basketball)

Davy Baltus a native from Paris, France transferred last semester in the fall from highly ranked Willey College in Texas where he redshirted. Davy struggled in the beginning of the season to adapt to the speed of the game. With hard work, dedication and persistent Davy caught up to the speed of the game and never looked back. Davy had a couple of big games for us this past season no more important than the Chabot tournament when our leading scorer Tyrone Hall stayed back in New York due to personal reasons. Davy help lead us to a consolation championship while averaging 16 points and making the All-Tournament Team. Davy finished up the season for us averaging 9 ppg and 3 rebounds while also making All-Freshman team in Conference play. We are looking for him to have a breakout year next season.

Rookie of the Year - Briana Bamber (Softball)

 “Bri” is a freshman third baseman who graduated from Monache High School in Porterville. She started in every game for the Pirates in one of Softball’s most demanding positions. Bri was an offensive threat, but what she did at third base defied all statistics. The conference coaches of the Central Valley recognized her achievements by voting her on the first team all-conference.

Sophomore of the Year – Tyrone Hall (Basketball)

Tyrone Hall a third year athlete and a native of Brooklyn, New York was the pulse of PC men’s basketball this season. Tyrone lead PC in scoring this season by averaging 11ppg, three rebounds, and two assist while shooting 47% from the field and with a staggering 44% from the 3pt line. Tyrone had a couple of big games this season against really good teams but the one that stood out to me was “The Game of Year” when his former coach TJ Jennings came back to play us and Tyrone went off for 16 points, 6 rebounds, four  assist and a victory to go with it over Reedley College. Ty have accomplished a lot accolades in his stint here at Porterville College. In 2012/2013 Ty won Freshmen of the Year for Pirate Athletes, All- Freshman in Conference, All Conference this season and now Pirate Sophomore of the Year. Ty was Coach Rob Haynes’ first college recruit. Tyrone will sign with Queens College a Division II back in New York City.

Sophomore of the Year - Jennifer Ortega (Softball)

A sophomore pitcher from Delano High School “Jenn” was a starter for the Pirates both years. She was a defensive threat on the mound and a consistent contributor with her bat. Jenn has various scholarship offers from around the nation and most recently was named to the All State Academic Team by the CCCFPA and the California Community College Fast pitch Coaches Association.

Pirate of the Year and Male Scholar Athlete of the Year – Matt Ferreira (Baseball)

A third year sophomore infielder Matt has started on first base this last season. During last month’s scholarship awards ceremony he was awarded several academic scholarships. He is a graduate of Tulare Western High School and will transfer to a four-year university, where he wants to major in either Agricultural Business or Kinesiology.

Pirate of the Year – Meranda Watkins (Volleyball)

The face of Pirate Volleyball, Meranda is a sophomore setter/outside hitter out of Hoover High School in Fresno. She led the Pirates in almost all categories and was back-to-back runner up for Player of the Year in the Central Valley Conference. Meranda was awarded an academic scholarship during last month’s scholarship ceremony and will transfer to Fresno Pacific University to play volleyball and continue her education.

Pirate of the Year – Isabel Romero (Softball)

“Izzy”, a freshman designated hitter out of Wasco High School was the Pirates’ strongest hitter this season. Izzy was unable to play softball last year due to reconstructive knee surgery. She rehabbed hard and fought her way back this season, leading the State in hits for quite some time. She received all-conference honors by being selected to the second All-CVC Team. Izzy is majoring in Biological and Physical Sciences.

Tyler Curry “Sportsmanship” Award- Daniel Ricks (Basketball)

Daniel Ricks a Fresno native and former grizzly from Central High School. Daniel came to Porterville College last year with his cousin Jarred White, a former PC student-athlete to pursue his dream of playing college basketball. His style of play was the epitome of what Porterville is all about “blue collar”, with his 6’4 frame (6’5 on a good day). Daniel has been one of the hardest workers that came through PC according to Coach Haynes. Daniel was their best all-defender that sacrifices his body for his brothers by leading the team in chargers taken. There were times when Daniel wouldn’t play as much he wanted, but he always kept a positive attitude throughout well inspiring others to do well. With his down time Daniel would volunteer to ref at the Church when he not asked to do so.  Daniel was a great leader, teammate and captain and that’s why he’s awarded the Tyler Curry Sportsmanship Award.

Sportsmanship Award – Danyela Salas (Softball)

“Dee” is a third year sophomore outfielder from Bakersfield High School. She has maintained perfect attendance at practice, including the required extra hour for pitchers. Dee received honorable mention in all league selections and is majoring in Child Development.

Tiffanee Anderson “Most Inspirational”- Melissa Vernon (Volleyball)

A sophomore outside hitter from Exeter High School, Melissa is the second highest scorer on the PC Volleyball team. She was voted onto the second team all Central Valley Conference by the coaches from our league. Upon Coach Dale Henderson’s departure she and her friend Dre took on a leadership role helping Gracie Steidley guide our team through the nontraditional season.

Most Inspirational – Justin McIntosh (Baseball)

Justin is a third year sophomore who graduated from Exeter High School. During his freshman year he suffered a devastating hip injury which sidelined him his first season. He recovered and played himself into the line-up in various positions, not once complaining. Justin has also been one of our lead statisticians during basketball games.

Scholar Athlete of the Year – Sarah Contreras (Volleyball)

Sarah is a sophomore middle blocker from Delano High School, who received CVC honorable mention. She is active in student government and the current ASPC president. Sarah received multiple academic scholarships during the awards ceremony on April 25 and plans to transfer to Cal State University, Monterrey to earn a degree in Kinesiology.

Kathie Gifford Special Recognition Award- Gracie Steidley

Gracie has been a softball assistant coach for many years. After completing her active playing career under Coach Vickie Dugan she started as a volunteer assistant working her way up over the years to become Vickie's right hand person. She is currently the longest acting assistant coach in the CVC. After Dale Henderson announced his sudden departure 2 weeks into this semester Gracie stepped up to the plate and took over his volleyball class from one day to the next. Not only has she been teaching the young ladies essential volleyball skills and tactics, she has also guided them academically and in life way beyond what was expected of her. She recently gave up her rare free weekend during softball season (& her son's HS baseball season) to take our VB team to a tournament in LA so our students could showcase their talent in front of recruiters and coaches of 4-year schools. They left PC at 4am on a Saturday morning and returned late that same night. Lately, Gracie has been tirelessly working to place Volleyball sophomores at 4-year universities and to make sure returning students are on track to transfer and eligible to compete next season.

During the first day of the spring semester Gracie and Vickie Dugan sat at an information table in the freezing cold guiding new students to their class rooms. With the softball team Gracie and her husband Derek, a volunteer coach for the program, participate and initiate many community and outreach events, including sporting teams for the annual Relay for Life event, holding softball clinics at local high schools and the Tule Indian Reservation.

This last year she played a crucial part in organizing an event they called "everybody comes home". The entire team ran 64 miles through Porterville to honor a Texas Community College Softball Team that lost several team-members in a horrible van accident 64 miles away from home. They took pictures and wrote posters and cards and sent them to the Team in Texas.

For the past few years Gracie has been teaching the community Education fitness classes serving mainly more mature students. She cares for them as much as for her student athletes; celebrating birthdays with goodies and making the students feel at home on our campus.

In addition, Gracie has been running the softball team's mandatory study hall for years; supervising the young ladies during study time and helping them stay focused. "Study table" happens daily between Mondays and Thursdays in the wee morning hours before the girls head to class. The early morning time is not due to Gracie's insomnia but brings the added benefit that she knows that her students won't over sleep their first class. Thank you, Gracie for all you do for our students and Pirate Athletics.

Kern Community College District