Softball team bolsters roster with six new athletes


Chico State Sports Information

Jade Henry takes an at bat during a game at San Jose’s Presentation High School

The Chico State softball team, loaded with so much talent already, will be adding six new players to their roster.

The Wildcats acquired Shaye Zlatunich, Hannah Dardano, Alex Allen, Katelyn Oldwin, Kylie Opelski and Jade Henry.

All of these new athletes are excited to represent Chico State on the softball field. Dardano joins Chico State after spending her freshman year at the University of Washington.

“I’m originally from Sacramento, so being closer to home was something that was always very important to me,” Dardano said. “I was very excited. Shortly after, I took a tour and decided that it’s probably the right call to go here.”

While no softball is being played this semester with the COVID-19 pandemic still ever-present, Dardano finds other ways to stay active.

Hannah Dardano takes an at bat in a game at the University of Washington

“It has been a little bit difficult because I am in Chico and it’s been very smokey the last couple of weeks,” Dardano said. “I’ve been doing at home workouts and trying to get out to go practice an event by myself.”

Last season, the softball team was riding a 19-2 record before the pandemic ended their season. All of the new players coming in are hopeful they can contribute to a team that was almost unbeatable.

“I did come to a couple of the Chico State games to watch and we have a pretty solid team,” Henry said. “Our team is crazy and I’m so excited to be a part of it. I just got to work 10 times harder and try to do everything to the best of my abilities so I can contribute to the team and we can be successful.”

Some of the new athletes joining the softball team have had amazing accomplishments at their prior schools. They hope those accomplishments can continue now that they are at a new school with new teammates.

“I was captain for two years and then I made team MVP for a year, my last year,” Henry said. “I am pretty proud of that because I led my team to do a lot.”

A current player on the softball roster that has a great reputation with her teammates is catcher Sara Mitrano.

Before the pandemic occurred, Mitrano had a batting average of .237 with eight runs batted in and three doubles. She also caught a no-hitter from pitcher Brooke Larsen in a game against the Cal State East Bay Pioneers on Feb. 28.

Alex Allen, who played catcher and outfield at her previous school in Orangevale, Calif. spoke very highly of Mitrano.

Alex Allen catches in a game at Casa Roble High School in Orangevale, Calif.

“I have not met Sara, but from what I’ve seen from what she does behind the plate, I see her as a role model,” Allen said. “I aspire to learn from her when we get a chance to play together. I aspire to see what she does and hopefully it’ll make me better.”

Allen, along with the other five players hope to return to action on the softball field as soon as the pandemic turns a corner.

Alex Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @alexmartinjour on Twitter.