Thursday, April 17, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Yoder’s passion for softball stretches deep into Davis

UCD softball coach Karen Yoder encourages her team during a game at La Rue Field. Yoder guided the Aggie program through the transition to Division I and is now in her eighth season as UCD's head coach. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

By Maggie Pilloton

Karen Yoder lives and breathes softball.

After a successful playing career at West Valley College (Saratoga) and the University of New Mexico, she continues her passion for softball through coaching.

Yoder, in her eighth year as skipper of the UC Davis softball team, is grateful for the opportunity to coach such talented, young athletes.

“I coach to help the next generation,” Yoder says.

Yoder earned her first head coaching position at Cal State Hayward (now Cal State East Bay) after two seasons as an assistant there.

Stints at North Carolina-Greensboro and Napa Valley College brought her eventually to UCD.

Yoder became part of a significant transition for Aggie athletics.

Hired in July 2004, Yoder immediately became an important facilitator in shifting the softball program from Division II to Division I. That lofty designation was attained in 2008.

Yoder gained valuable experience and, most importantly, resiliency during the transition.

She says it was a challenging process, especially because the team wasn’t able to participate in the postseason during the transition, but it was one well worth going through. Yoder says she will always be indebted to the athletes who played during that time because they displayed selflessness that won’t be forgotten.

“I can’t even put into words how grateful I am,” Yoder told The Enterprise. “They had no chance of playing in the postseason. That’s saying something. When we won (the Big West championship) in 2010, they were a part of that.”

In 2012, the Aggies have an exciting mix of talented freshmen and consistent upperclassmen. Yoder says pitching is a large part of the success of this team. In particular, Justine Vela, a freshman from Bakersfield, has emerged as the workhorse and Yoder sees huge potential in her. Another freshman who is making her mark as an everyday starter is Cassandra Ginnis.

“We currently have two freshmen who are everyday starters, Cassandra and Justine, who contribute on an everyday basis,” Yoder continues. “What they bring to the table in terms of competitiveness is what you hope for as a coach.”

UCD (15-24) is cruising along with a 5-3 conference record, sitting in third place in the rugged Big West.

Yoder always has advocated maintaining academic excellence while playing a sport. She wants to celebrate not just game-winning hits but also the achievements inside the classroom. She wants to give as much praise to those who do well in their classes as those who have excellent days on the field.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for women on this team to be competitive, get a great education and represent one of the best schools in the nation,” Yoder points out.

In addition to Yoder’s coaching at UCD, she also is the executive head coach of the Davis Lady Demons, a team in the Amateur Softball Association of America. She assists three teams, two of which are for players 12 and under and one for older girls. Although Yoder doesn’t run any of the teams herself, she has meetings with other coaches, giving them insight about strategy and philosophy.

Yoder also is active with the Davis Youth Softball Association. She says she loves to give back to the community and help future softball stars, including her 3-year-old daughter Natalee, who she hopes will play DYSA next year.

Yoder and her husband Shawn, a general contractor, also have kids Jenna and Michael.

To reinforce the importance of staying connected to the community and how powerful their influence can be, Yoder took some of her Aggie players to the recent DYSA Opening Day. She wanted her players to see the rewarding opportunities that are being given to young athletes in this sport; to see how fulfilling giving back can be.

“Shaking hands with those girls was incredible, because their dreams are just starting,” Yoder recalls. “It reinforces what you do. This is what it’s all about.”

It’s why Yoder has shown a constant commitment to her players and her community. Her passion for the game has given her several opportunities to do something she has always loved to do.

“I’m extremely passionate,” Yoder says, smiling. “I will coach until that passion is gone.”

— Maggie Pilloton is a UC Davis junior and sports intern at The Davis Enterprise. She can be reached at (530) 747-8049.

Special to The Enterprise

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Jury deliberates murder, elder-abuse charges

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

 
Davis wins USA Today Best Cycling Town honor

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Benefit set to help local bike legend

By Adrian Glass-Moore | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
State’s health care sign-ups beat projections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
California residents divided on drought solution

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A2

 
For the record

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A2

Three killed in attack on Ukrainian base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Downtown post office set to reopen

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3

Run or walk to prevent child abuse in Yolo County

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Nominations sought for charity paint giveaway

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

 
Scholar will discuss human trafficking in Friday talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Per Capita Davis: Now, for some good news

By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

 
Birch Lane hosts 50th anniversary party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Hannah Stein reads poetry at gallery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Davis Food Co-op to offer free bags on Earth Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Get in the picture with school board candidate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
KDVS hosts on-air fundraiser April 21-27

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Tickets on sale for Pence Garden Tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Fundraiser planned for Allen’s campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Food Co-op board plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Davis Downtown hosts candidate forum

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A4

Learn more about Google Glass at talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Barbecue celebrates winter shelter program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Sign of things to come

By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A8

 
Davis Soroptimists celebrate 60 years

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

.

Forum

Fancy meeting you here …

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Public Health Heroes honored

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
Don’t miss a Trokanski dance

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Frank Bruni: The oldest hatred, forever young

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
Expert: Free parking is a myth

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Have they really learned?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
A great community effort

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

.

Sports

River Cats’ streak reaches six wins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Landry evolves into UCD women’s lacrosse leader

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Huge inning propels Pleasant Grove past DHS

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Giants edge Dodgers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Foster steps down as Lady Blue Devil basketball coach

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Youth roundup: Martinez, Chan come up big at gymnastics regional

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Kings drop season finale to Suns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Angels get past A’s in extras

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

Wineaux: Good deals off the beaten path

By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A7

 
Rockabilly phenom to play at The Palms

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

HellaCappella showcases a cappella singing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
‘One’ singular sensation to open at DMTC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

25th annual state clay competition exhibit at The Artery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Tapan Munroe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 17, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6