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Legionnaires win softball league championship

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Although 2022 was the first season ever for Bonsall High School softball, the Legionnaires won the Patriot League championship.

Bonsall finished league play with a 6-0 record. The Legionnaires' regular-season record was 11-5.

“I am absolutely just amazed,” said Bonsall coach Emily Casillas. “They put in a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, and they brought it home for us. This is Bonsall’s first year in softball, and they’re league champions.”

The Legionnaires began the season with 18 players and concluded 2022 with 16 players after losing two to injuries or grades. Only four of the team members are seniors.

“They definitely pulled it all out of nowhere,” Casillas said.

Bonsall began the season with a 1-3 record, including losses in the Legionnaires’ first two games by a combined 45-11 margin. “The first couple of games we got absolutely demolished,” Casillas said.

The Legionnaires then won their next six games, and a 33-0 win April 29 against King-Chavez Academy gave Bonsall a 7-3 overall record including a 4-0 league figure. That winning streak came to an end May 2 when Bonsall hosted Guajome Park Academy and lost a 21-8 contest which ended after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

Borrego Springs had to forfeit the Rams’ scheduled May 5 non-league game at the Pala Sports Complex, where Bonsall home games were played, but the Legionnaires then obtained a 25-6 non-league win at home May 9 against Orange Glen. Bonsall was supposed to return to Patriot League play May 10 at home against Ocean View Christian, but the Patriots had to forfeit that game.

The league championship would be decided May 13 at Chula Vista Learning Community Charter. Bonsall took a 5-0 Patriot League record into the game while the Cobras were 4-1. Bonsall’s 22-8 victory secured first place for the Legionnaires.

The Cobras scored the first five runs of the game. “It was actually kind of scary because all their girls were scoring and were running really well,” Casillas said.

Cali Sauileone, who was one of seven freshmen on the roster, was Bonsall’s primary pitcher this year. “She has developed a lot and she has matured a lot,” Casillas said.

The four seniors included Hanna Smith, who also pitched as well as played first base. “When I needed a relief pitcher, she was perfect for it,” Casillas said.

Casillas attended Fallbrook High School, did not play softball as a freshman, was on the Warriors’ junior varsity as a sophomore and junior, and spent the 2014 season on the varsity before graduating that spring. Two of her siblings were Bonsall’s assistant coaches this year. Maddy Casillas played Fallbrook High School softball before graduating in 2016. “I forced her into coaching,” Emily Casillas said.

Jared Casillas was a pole vaulter on Fallbrook’s track and field team and didn’t play baseball for the Warriors; he also played football for Fallbrook before graduating in 2018. He worked with the Bonsall High School outfielders this year. “He added a lot to our team,” Emily Casillas said.

The other Casillas sibling, Wyatt, is currently a Fallbrook High School freshman and was on the Warriors’ junior varsity football and track and field teams this academic year.

Emily Casillas expressed appreciation to her assistant coaches and to others who assisted the new program. “I want to thank all of our fans, family, staff, and a big thank you to Andrew Breuninger for being the rock for our athletic department,” Casillas said.

Breuninger is Bonsall’s athletic director.

“I want to thank my players,” Casillas said.

Casillas had not previously coached a softball team. “I’ve always wanted to coach. It’s been a dream of mine forever,” she said.

Her dream didn’t necessarily include winning a league championship in her first year. “It was so unexpected and more than I ever could have wished for. I still can’t believe it,” she said.


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