Ashley Osier can't deny it.
She feeds on power the feel of it, the rush of it.
Osier, a sophomore at Sierra College and the California Community College Softball Player of the Year, is 16-2 as a pitcher and leads the state with 18 home runs.
The third-seeded Wolverines (35-5) host No. 14 De Anza (20-14) today at 2 p.m. and Sunday at noon and, if necessary, 2 p.m. in the first round of a best-of-three northern regional series.
Osier downplays her swing, but she admitted with a laugh that she has had some memorable blasts. Her favorite during her high school days at Rio Linda came in a summer tournament in Southern California, a game-winning, two-run shot. It smashed the windshield of the car of an opposing player who had said during the game that NorCal players can't measure up. Take that, SoCal.
Osier's most memorable blast this season? She has two.
Entering the final regular-season game, Osier needed two home runs to earn top state honors.
"And then she did it," Sierra coach Darci Brownell said. "That's pressure. Ashley loved the challenge. Most kids (would) fold under that, knowing how close they were to the state lead."
Said Osier: "My dad (John) and I talked about it the night before and the day of the game, and the whole feeling was to just make contact and see what happens. I made it happen. Feels so good."
Sierra leads the state with 57 home runs, the most in Brownell's 24 seasons with the school. Sierra players spent hours last fall taking swings with a bat in a pool, the resistance building strength.
"I never thought something like that would work," Brownell said. "We had one game where we had a grand slam, then hit another homer and then another, a back-to-back-to-back. Talk about demoralizing."
Annette Merjano has 13 home runs and 45 RBIs, Taylor McGregor 11 and 42, and Leesha Shoemaker five and 30.
"Rounding the bases like we do," Osier said, "it's so awesome. It's amazing what home runs do. It helps you as a pitcher, helps the defense knowing you have all those runs. I was talking to my teammates about that. Last year, everybody felt super exhausted at this time. It was a struggle. Our team as a whole wasn't cohesive and didn't have that chemistry you need. Now we do."
Around the region
Hugely successful Pleasant Grove football coach Joe Cattolico said the Jesuit opening "is a good job, but it's not for me." He said he is a public school guy, much like his coaching icon father, Butch, of the Bay Area.
Nationally recruited defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes of Placer said he was amazed by the facilities, athletes and hospitality when he attended Oregon's spring game last weekend, but he isn't ready to narrow his list to 10 colleges. Recently, he has had phone calls or campus visits with coaches from USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Washington and Nebraska, among others.
Sophomore defensive back Terrance Mitchell from Burbank and early-entry defensive end Arik Armstead had strong moments in Oregon's spring game.
Early-entry defensive back Marcus Rios from Cosumnes Oaks has impressed in UCLA spring drills.