The grand aspiration of a dedicated coach and his team of 16 Canyon Crest Academy students to finish a winning softball season is now a reality, and more.
Three years ago, CCA hired Head Coach Michael Wahlstrom to firmly establish the Ravens softball program after failed attempts by several previous coaches. In his inaugural season, Coach Wahlstrom’s team consisted of 10 freshmen, one sophomore, two juniors and a one senior. It was a brutal season going 3-19-0. Never giving up, in 2017 the Ravens took the field again with a majority of underclassmen and without a trained pitcher. Coach Wahlstrom and his team gritted out an improved record of 7-15-0.
For the 2018 season Coach Wahlstrom added five freshmen to his roster, two with experience in the pitching circle. On Senior Day, the last regularly scheduled home game, the Division IV Ravens beat their cross-town rival, the Division I Torrey Pines Falcons, 6-5 in a stunning upset. The Ravens now had a record of 12-11-0. A winning season, but they did not stop there.
Last Saturday this determined team strode onto the UCSD softball field for its first CIF championship appearance. On May 26, 2018 the Division IV 8th seed Canyon Crest Academy Ravens with a record of 17-13-0 took the field to play against the #1 seeded High Tech High Bruins. Although the Ravens fell 7-6 to the Bruins during the first round of playoff action two weeks prior, Coach Wahlstrom’s Ravens did not give up. The Ravens won four subsequent playoff games to replay the Bruins in the championship. The Ravens were chasing 5 in the 7th inning and made a remarkable 6-run rally to go ahead 8-7 before ultimately losing the game by a single run in extra innings.
Although this Cinderella story was cut short by one run, Canyon Crest Academy has a firmly established their softball program with more than a winning season. As Team USA Softball’s three-time gold winning pitcher Lisa Fernandez stated, “The team with the best athletes doesn't usually win. It's the team with the athletes who play best together.”