All the hard work has paid off for Amador Valley High senior pitcher Mia Hildebrand, an honor student who verbally committed to Division I UC Davis softball on Aug. 24.

Her decision brought instant joy to the Amador Valley softball program during the COVID-19 shutdown for high school athletics.

“UC Davis has found a strong, passionate and extremely talented athlete that fights for the win up until the very last pitch,” Dons coach Teresa Borchard said. “What more could a coach ever want in a player? I can’t wait to celebrate with her when we are back on the Amador field.”

Hildebrand “fell in love” with the Davis campus while attending a camp there.

“At that moment, I just knew I really wanted to go to Davis,” she said.

The Dons’ previous season ended abruptly after only a few games due to the shutdown, but Hildebrand didn’t stop there. She kept driving toward her goals. The national signing period for softball begins in November.

“Ever since I fell in love with Davis, I feel like I’ve never pushed myself harder,” said Hildebrand, who had a sterling 4.5 GPA as a junior. “But especially when corona started, I started running a lot. To boost my game, I started running every day — I even ran a half-marathon. I’ve been long-distance running along with hitting training and pitching training. I was basically working out five to six days a week, once or twice every day.”

On top of all the running, she has been lifting weights in the garage and riding the bike. Her dad, Rob is her catching partner and mom, Jaime, is a big supporter too.

Softball runs in the Hildebrand family. Mia and her older sister Maddie, now attending Chapman University in Orange, helped Amador Valley to the 2018 North Coast Section Division I championship. Mia gives her family a thumbs up for its support.

“They’ve been amazing, definitely always there for me,” she said.

None of Mia’s dedication comes as a surprise to Borchard. The coach stated that excellence isn’t something you can just turn on and off.

“Mia has a strong sense of motivation that comes from within,” Borchard said. “It takes a lot of resiliency to continue to work hard when the game isn’t able to reward you. Softball came to a sudden halt on March 12 because of COVID-19 … The fact that Mia was able to get recruited during some of the most adverse times in her young life is a testament to the kind of player she is.”

During the recruitment process, Mia said UC Davis coaches came out to see all her softball showcases last fall, but she didn’t hear back from them until recently. She had been kept updated via text messages and emails, and when they offered her a spot on the team, “I took it,” she said.

Mia wants to major in managerial economics and minor in arts at Davis. She has adjusted well to off-campus online learning, but missing school activities has been difficult.

“It’s not that it’s hard; it’s just that it’s sad,” she said. “All the online things are doable — they’re easy to do, but this autumn, like missing out on all of our senior events and obviously recruiting was really hard. Before Davis called me back, I was really upset thinking I wasn’t going to get recruited or go to the school I wanted to. It was really tough, but we’re getting through it.”

Dublin High graduate Kyle Brown, a 6-foot-5 wing player who completed his sophomore season at Chabot in 2019-20, has signed with Division 2 Kentucky State University.

Brown averaged 9 points and 3 rebounds a game last season, helping the Gladiators finish 17-12 overall and tied for third in the Coast Conference-North Division — a spot behind Las Positas.

Brown is one of four Chabot men’s basketball players to sign with a four-year program, along with Sacramento products Jabari Sweet (Hawaii Hilo) and Akili Daniels (Mayville State-North Dakota), and Logan graduate Micah Butler Webster (San Diego Christian).

Las Positas is sending five men’s players to four-year schools. Six Las Positas basketball players made the 2019-20 All-Academic State Team: Lee Jones Jr.; Andrew Mork; Tyler Langowski; Nikolas Echalas; Evan Gosal; and Matthew Roseby. Selectees must have a minimum of one season completed with a minimum of 24 units accumulated (at least 3.5 GPA).