With bats in their hands, Ali Aguilar of Casa Roble and Rowdy Tellez of Elk Grove are naturals. They attack the strike zone and drive the ball to all fields - or over the fence.
Aguilar and Tellez, who capped their high school careers with championships, are The Bee's 2013 Softball and Baseball Players of the Year.
Aguilar and Tellez are as similar as they are opposite. Both are left-handed, smooth-hitting experts at the high school level, their coaches and opponents said.
Aguilar won three Sac-Joaquin Section softball championships and Tellez won two Division I North titles and a section Division I title.
They are both four-year starters who anchored their teams' infields, Aguilar at shortstop and Tellez at first base, and they both led teams that finished No. 1 in The Bee's final rankings.
But Aguilar is 5-foot-8, soft-spoken and shy, with long, straight hair. She was a leadoff hitter mostly known as a slap hitter who also boasts power.
Tellez is 6-foot-4 and gregarious, with curly hair that snaked out of the back of his flat-brimmed cap. He was a cleanup hitter whose doubles sent outfielders scrambling and whose towering homers impressed scouts (the Phillies' Joey Davis once said "his shots are majestic").
When told Aguilar might be the better hitter before their Player of the Year photo shoot, Tellez never broke stride: "She probably is. I've heard she's off the hook."
Said Aguilar of Tellez: "I've heard he's pretty good, with power."
That sizes up both of them.
Aguilar batted .500, with 12 doubles, eight home runs and 30 RBIs, and she had game-winning hits or scored the winning run as the Rams went 4-0 in the section Division II playoffs. In her final high school game, Aguilar hit two home runs in the Optimist All-Star game.
Tellez also hit .500, with 46 RBIs, nine home runs and 16 doubles, and his 176 career RBIs are the most in section history. Tellez had 12 hits and three home runs as the Thundering Herd went 7-0 in the playoffs, one of the top hitting displays in the tournament's 45-year history. In his final game for Elk Grove, an 11-2 rout of three-time defending section champion St. Mary's of Stockton in the Division I championship, Tellez had four hits, including a home run and two doubles, and drove in four runs.
"Rowdy's amazing, the best high school hitter in the country," Elk Grove teammate Dom Nunez said. "I've seen a lot of guys playing in showcase games, and Rowdy's the best."
Aguilar and Tellez also are known for their work ethic.
Casa Roble senior McKenzie Kenobbie said Aguilar is "the hardest worker I've ever seen."
Said Aguilar: "It's important to me."
As for her ability to hit home runs when she's used to having to sprint on the basepaths, she said, "I feel like I'm running too fast on those homers. It feels good to take my time."
Aguilar was the only high school player selected for the Under-19 USA Team that competes this summer. After that, she will head to Washington to play on scholarship.
"She deserves it," Casa Roble coach Ken Kenobbie said of Aguilar's many accolades. "She's earned it."
Tellez said it's hard to downplay his power. He insists he's merely trying to drive in runs but admits there is a charge with clearing the fence.
"Some people come to games to watch a no-hitter, or to see home runs," Tellez said. "No one comes to games to watch groundouts."
Tellez is expected to be selected in the baseball draft that begins Thursday, and he also could head to USC on scholarship.
"It's mind-boggling what he's done here," Elk Grove coach Jeff Carlson said. "Some guys peak at a certain point. He didn't. He continues to grow."
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Rowdy Tellez, Elk Grove, Sr.
Dom Nunez, Elk Grove, Sr.
Tyler Blake of Franklin, Sr.
Bronson Grubbs, Pleasant Grove, Jr.
Hank LoForte, Franklin, So.
Derek Rodigo, Del Campo, Sr.
Alec de Watteville, Oak Ridge, Sr.
Josh Adams, Pleasant Grove, Sr.
Derek Hill, Elk Grove, Jr.
J.R. Robinson, Whitney, Sr.
Julian Barron, Jesuit, Sr.
Jared Biggs, Del Campo, Sr.
George Corp, Woodcreek, Sr.
Chandler Eden, Yuba City, Sr.
David Smith, Elk Grove, Sr.
Matt Trask, Davis, Jr.
Mikey Wright, Elk Grove, Sr.
Nico Toni, Pleasant Grove, Jr.
Trevor Abrams, Whitney, Sr.
Tyler Blake of Franklin, Sr.
Nick Madrigal, Elk Grove, So.
Joe Murray, Davis, Sr.
Devin Pettengill, Yuba City, Jr.
Michael Majeski, Vista del Lago, Jr.
Ben Ritchey, Capital Christian, Sr.
Guillermo Salazar, Rio Americano, Sr.
Devon Loomis, Colfax, Sr.
Austin Ragsdale, Bradshaw Christian, Sr.
John Ariola, Davis, Jr.
Sam Long, Del Campo, Jr.
Stephen Nogosek, Woodcreek, Sr.
Gabe Meza, Granite Bay, Sr.
Matt Stafford, Pleasant Grove, Jr.
CATCHERS: Josh Criswell, Bradshaw Christian; Hayden Duer, Davis; Mark Lyon, Rio Americano; Logan Marston, Oak Ridge; Spencer Ubois, Cosumnes Oaks; Raul Ortiz, McClatchy; Mike Phelan, Bella Vista
INFIELDERS: David Campbell, Colfax; Jamari Campbell, Cordova; T.J. Dove, River Valley; Ross Dwelley, Oak Ridge; Vinny Esposito, Granite Bay; Byron Farrell, River City; P.J. Floyd, Whitney; Alec Kazanjian, Rio Americano; Ryan Kreidler, Davis; Hayden Mejia, Yuba City; Mickey Meinhofer, Oak Ridge; Josh Pfeffer, Vista del Lago; Eddie Sievers, McClatchy
OUTFIELDERS: Ray Jones, Antelope; Zach Ewertsen, Christian Brothers; Matt Smith, El Dorado; Bryant Stone, Bradshaw Christian; F.P. Santangelo, Oak Ridge; Austin Thurman, Inderkum; Zach Wassall, Laguna Creek; Tyler Winston, Antelope
UTILITY: Mauricio Dubon, Capital Christian; Brayden Gomez, Bella Vista; Dalton Gomez, Pleasant Grove; Cameron Keup, Franklin; Brandon Langan, Laguna Creek; Josh Little, Whitney; Ty Madrigal, Elk Grove; Tyler Masterson, Rosemont; Jeremiah Moore, Valley Christian; Teagan Mowry, Valley Christian; Brandon Nunn, Grant; Drew Romo, Whitney; Bobby Young, Davis.
DESIGNATED HITTERS: Grant Heisinger, Bradshaw Christian; Korey Hall, Dixon; Chad Perry, Marysville
PITCHERS: Connor Adams, Franklin; Jaylen Brown, Rosemont; Anthony Castaneda, Woodland Christian; Robert Daugherty, Pioneer; Thomas Galart, Pioneer; Matt Gunter, Bella Vista; Keith Heyer, Del Oro; Chris Loeb, Jesuit; Jake Miille, Davis; Austin Dick, Rocklin; Tommy Hummer, Oak Ridge; Julio Martinez, Lincoln; Austin Root, Oak Ridge; Tyler Schimpf, Capital Christian; Jake Sola, Lincoln; Jimmy Shaw, Valley Christian; Adam Takeuchi, Kennedy; Logan Webb, Rocklin
COACH OF THE YEAR
Jeff Carlson, Elk Grove: The Thundering Herd (29-5) played a tough nonleague schedule, finished a game behind Davis in the Delta Valley Conference and then went 7-0 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs, capped by a North title and the overall championship with a two-game sweep of three-time defending champion St. Mary's of Stockton. It was Carlson's fifth Division I section title as head coach since 2002, to go with seven North titles. Carlson was the "backbone and spirit of our team," according to senior catcher Dom Nunez.
THE BEE'S FINAL TOP 20
1. Elk Grove 29-5
2. Franklin 18-15
3. Pleasant Grove 24-9
4. Davis 22-8
5. Del Campo 25-7
6. Oak Ridge 19-9
7. Woodcreek 20-7
8. Jesuit 21-8
9. Yuba City 21-11
10. Colfax 20-8
11. Granite Bay 17-10
12. Lincoln 23-8
13. Whitney 28-3
14. Rosemont 23-6
15. Capital Christian 25-5-1
16. Bradshaw Christian 25-6
17. Vista del Lago 25-6
18. Rio Americano 15-12
19. Bella Vista 20-11
20 Valley Christian 21-12
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ali Aguilar, Casa Roble, Sr.
Frankie Orlando, Woodcreek, Sr.
Mallory Asaro, Rocklin, Sr.
Krystal Aubert, Casa Roble, Jr.
Catlyn Cavender, El Camino, Sr.
Lauren Bertoy, Oak Ridge, Sr.
Amber Murray, Pleasant Grove, Sr.
Amber Wright, Elk Grove, So.
Jenna Curtan, Woodcreek, Jr.
Kristina Brown, Dixon, Sr.
Bailey O'Mara, St. Francis, Sr.
Vanessa Washington, Pleasant Grove, Jr.
Haley Snyder, Christian Brothers, Jr.
Taylor Cotton, Whitney, Sr.
Kaitlyn Garcia, Casa Roble, Sr.
Angelica Dark, Pioneer, So.
Tori Bellin, Pioneer, Sr.
Cali Lewis, Rocklin, Jr.
Zamari Hinton, Sheldon, Jr.
Abi Lund, Lincoln, Sr.
Kaitlin Pires, Elk Grove, Jr.
Molly Fowkes, Del Oro, So.
Danica Bailey, St. Francis, So.
McKenzie Kenobbie, Casa Roble, Sr.
Sarah Phillis, Union Mine, Sr.
Kelsey Goodner, Woodland, Jr.
Anessa Kaylor, Sheldon, Jr.
Kayla Fields, Roseville, Sr.
Amanda Horbasch, Woodcreek, Sr.
Celina Matthias, Pleasant Grove, Jr.
Kendall Chambers, Rocklin, Sr.
CATCHERS: Stephanie Cello, Davis; Alyssa Penacho-Chavez, Cordova; Antonia Hagelis, Christian Brothers; Baylee Hirtel, Galt; Janiece Jackson, Sacramento; Stephanie Johnson, Roseville; Raechel Hooper, Franklin; Sam Moffat, Rocklin; Mya Reynolds, Casa Roble; Jackie Schmaeling, Oak Ridge
INFIELDERS: Rylie Carlier, Pioneer; Gabriela Davis, Pioneer; Madi Galuszka, Whitney; Alejandra Garcia, St. Francis; Cailin Garmon, Inderkum; Leia Gaspar, McClatchy; Ashleigh Hughes, Antelope; Rachel Last, Bear River; Brooke Lindstrom, Cordova; Lucia Lopez, Christian Brothers; Marissa Maligad, Pleasant Grove; Alyson Manzo, Roseville; Taylor Martinez, El Camino; Hanna Miller, Del Oro; Julia Morales, Cosumnes Oaks; Ashley Muzzi, Vista del Lago; Karitza Reyes, Franklin; Kayli Shaw, Whitney; Taryn Sigl, Christian Brothers; Savannah Stephens, Golden Sierra; Crystal Vierra, Woodcreek
OUTFIELDERS: Jaclyn Amader, Rocklin; Kaylee Davis, Woodland; Taylor Eiders, Ponderosa; Halee Howell, Del Campo; Savanna Johnson, Antelope; Jayda Jordan, Sacramento; Kassidy Kosmata, Placer; Erika Lane, Sheldon; Aaliyah Oliver, Rosemont; Maggie West, Del Campo; Angehleyna Wheat, Cordova
UTILITY: Kaelin Amrein, Placer; Courtney Beatty, Laguna Creek; Kaitlyn Combo, River Valley; Delaney DeMello, Roseville; Savannah Loomis, Oakmont; Nicole Madolora, Franklin; Sabryna Scott, Cosumnes Oaks; Maddie Wuelfing, Rocklin
DESIGNATED PLAYERS: Jessica Drager, Union Mine; Ashley Dufresne, Davis; Morgan Lamb, Elk Grove; Taylor McDowell, Roseville; Alexandria Tinoco, Natomas; Morgan Welch, Marysville
PITCHERS: Tressa Aroestegui, Marysville; Jenna Bassler, Dixon; Jordan Becker, Bella Vista; Erikka Burke, Elk Grove; Karina Callazo, River City; Shawna Hulsey, Lindhurst; Kaone Hunter, Antelope; Holly Johnson, Golden Sierra; Nerissa Long, Bear River
COACH OF THE YEAR
Linda Merrida, Pioneer: The calm veteran coach led a young Patriots team that took their fans on a roller-coaster ride to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship. The Patriots (24-6) opened the postseason with a 1-0, eight-inning upset of Whitney, then lost 6-2 to upstart Antelope. Pioneer stormed back to win its next four games, including back-to-back thrillers against Antelope, for the title. Since 2004, Merrida has compiled a 177-46-3 record with eight league and two section titles.
THE BEE'S FINAL TOP 20
1. Casa Roble 24-5
2. Pleasant Grove 22-11
3. Rocklin 26-5
4. Christian Brothers 20-11
5. Pioneer 24-6
6. Elk Grove 23-9
7. Roseville 21-9
8. Woodcreek 20-9
9. Whitney 19-10
10. Del Campo 16-10-1
11. Sheldon 14-13
12. St. Francis 16-9
13. Antelope 17-15
14. Cordova 18-8
15. Ponderosa 14-10-1
16. Oak Ridge 18-9
17. Cosumnes Oaks 17-12
18. Marysville 23-7-1
19. Del Oro 15-12
20. Davis 16-10-1
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct Aguilar's height.