With more opportunity, came better play. With more play, came better opportunity.
Jessica Cordola and Taylor Tonoian made the most of increased playing time with Saugus High softball this year and parlayed their success into spots at NCAA Division 1 schools.
Cordola announced via Twitter on Thursday that she’d committed to San Diego State.
Tonoian announced earlier in the week she’d picked Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana.
“I actually went on an unofficial visit in October of last year and fell in love with the school,” Tonoian said. “It’s so beautiful out there.”
Both Tonoian and Cordola made themselves at home in the batter’s box this season. Cordola, a third baseman, hit .400 in 85 at-bats, with seven home runs and 24 RBIs. This after hitting .273 in 44 at-bats the year before.
Tonoian, who mostly served as a designated hitter, batted .400 this year in 60 at-bats (or three times as many at-bats as she had in 2016).
“This season both were starters for every game,” said coach Julie Archer. “Whereas, before, they’d get certain opportunities, but not all the time.”
The rising senior duo helped lift a Saugus team some felt was headed for a down year to a second place finish in the Foothill League and a CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoff berth.
As for next season, Tonoian will be competing for the team’s catching spot, vacated by the now-graduate Cassidy FitzGerald.
Tonoian, who said Valparaiso took notice of her at a tournament in Florida, said she hopes to improve her leadership skills between now and then.
Valparaiso went 28-23 last season, ending its season in the Horizon League tournament. San Diego State went 31-18 overall and 15-9 in the Mountain West Conference, good for second place.
The Aztecs did not receive an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament.