2024 Lady Broncs have a new head coach and look to continue success

By Mike Blake

The 2024 Kern Valley softball season starts next week, with JV taking on McFarland, February 20 and Varsity starting the season February 22 at Mojave. There really isn’t much to speculate on as yet as new head coach Jamie Duran said the program has not held significant try outs yet as most of the top candidates are still playing soccer and basketball. “I have only had three girls come out so far, so we will have to hit the ground running after soccer and basketball and ask some of the girls to do double-duty if their playoff runs are long as we hope they are.”

Duran, a Special Education Teacher and Varsity Volleyball coach, takes over from Brianna Mundy, last year’s coach, who has gone on to take over the Kern Valley Athletic Director’s role from Mike Genthner, who preferred to step down while continuing as Baseball coach.

Last year had its ups and downs. The 2023 Kern Valley softball team weathered the weather and tough opponents and though their season ended in the first round of the playoffs, the team had a strong and successful campaign.

The Lady Broncs finished 11-7 overall and 8-6 in High Desert League play, while outscoring their opponents 202-118. Just when they were getting started, they were deprived of more than a half-dozen games and a tournament, due to inclement weather. They practiced on wet and muddy fields and indoors until the field was playable and the weather conducive to outdoor workouts.

They went on streaks. Three wins and three offensive outputs at 15 runs or more to start the season, a blowout loss then back-to-back 20-run explosions in wins, then another big loss followed by six wins in seven games, The season ended with four straight losses, falling to the Immanuel Christian Crusaders (10-3, 7-0 Hi-Lo League) in the playoffs to conclude the season. 

Looking at the season, Mundy said there were many positives to take away. “We improved as a team from last year, although our finish didn’t reflect that,” Mundy said. “Ava Bates was our team MVP and also made HDL All-League First Team. She was a spark plug for us and we look for her to have a great senior season in 2024.” 

“Delaney Lykins made HDL All-League Second team and graduated as a s four-year varsity player. She carried a big bat, which will be missed.” 

Mundy looked for this season’s returning players to play big parts on the ’24 team. “Alaina Check was injured in the second half of the season but will play a big part of the team this year for sure,” Mundy said. “Audrey Martinez led the team in ERA last year. Her pitching and offense will be an important part of the team this year. 

“Kayley Sietsma and Kassidy Sietsma will be three-year varsity players and also play a strong role on the team both offensively and defensively wherever they play. 

AD Mundy is optimistic for next year and sees a big change coming. “The outlook for the team is great,” Mundy said. “(Kern Valley’s volleyball coach) Jamie Duran is stepping in as head softball coach. She was a KV standout softball player and played college softball at Cal State Dominguez Hills. I know she’s going to do a great job.”  

The Kern Valley softball season through the end of February, looks like this:

Tuesday, Feb. 20

JV Softball at McFarland

Thursday, Feb 22

Varsity Softball at Mojave, 3:15 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 23

Varsity Softball vs. Laton, 3:15 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 28

Varsity Softball Tournament at North

JV Softball vs. Trona, 3:15 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 29

Varsity Softball Tournament at North