Pioneer of the Week: Ali Cerminara

Louis LaVenture,
Sports and Campus Editor

Cal State East Bay sophomore catcher Ali Cerminara is the Pioneer of the Week.

Cerminara was instrumental in the 2 – 2 home stand over the weekend when the Pioneers hosted the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros.

Cerminara helped CSUEB break even in the home series as they won both games on Saturday to bounce back from two losses on Friday at Pioneer Softball Field.

The five-foot-six-inch sophomore from Phoenix was vital not just behind the plate on defense but at the plate as a batter as well. Cerminara managed just one hit on Friday but exploded offensively on Saturday and recorded five hits that included two home runs, a triple, and a double.

She finished the day a perfect five-for-five at the plate and drove in a total of four runs in the two victories over the weekend.

“I was hitting the ball hard Friday but it wasn’t finding any holes,” Cerminara said. “Saturday I kept my confidence in my swing up and was more successful. For both aspects I try to keep calm and not think too much. I just try to trust my ability to perform my best.”

The offensive outburst was no surprise as Cerminara has been stellar at the plate all season. She has team-highs in batting average, .397, RBIs, 36, and doubles with 12. Cerminara has also been great behind the plate for the Pioneers and amassed a .986 fielding percentage committing just two errors all season.

“She’s a big hitter for us in our lineup and always comes through when we need her to,” CSUEB senior pitcher Emily Perlich said. “She has a big bat but I don’t think she gets enough credit for what she does behind the plate for us. She’s a wall and keeps runners on base paying attention because they know she has a great arm too.”

With just two other catchers on the CSUEB roster, Cerminara has dominated playing time behind the plate and appeared in 41 of the teams 43 games this season. Her attitude has been a major factor in her team’s success, according to her battery mate Perlich.

“She’s great all around and is always making a joke about something,” Perlich said. “She keeps the atmosphere light, and as a pitcher, it helps to feel that in stressful situations.”

CSUEB senior utility player Kelsey LaVaute also took notice of the sophomore’s strong play in just Cerminara’s second season as a Pioneer.

“[Cerminara] doesn’t only hit people in but starts rallies by getting on base and getting the team going,” LaVaute said.

“She keeps people off the bases by throwing them out consistently and always works hard behind the plate by blocking everything. As a teammate she likes to joke around with everyone. She gets along with everyone on the team and is able to be a leader when we need her from the catching position.”