By Ray Hamill — The Corsairs need to replace some big bats in the heart of their lineup this offseason, but this week they took a big step towards doing with that with the addition of Diamond and Jewely Bibancos.
The hard-hitting Hoopa twin sisters have played a huge role in the Warriors success in recent years, including last year’s historic North Coast Section championship, and now they appear ready to take their game to the college fields.
On Monday, they both signed their letters of commitment to play for head coach Megan Valente and the College of the Redwoods women, and she couldn’t be happier about it.
“I’m so excited Diamond and Jewely committed to come to CR and compete at the next level,” Valente said. “With our sophomores this year — Kayla (Pontoni), Brooke (Faraimo) and Nas (Che Wen Hunsucker) — we lost huge bats and I expect Jewely and Diamond to take that role at the plate and step in with big bats for us.”
Both sisters were hugely influential in helping the Warriors win a fourth straight league championship this season, and they were so on both sides of the ball.
Jewely has set the tone defensively for the team behind the plate and is batting .375 with seven doubles, a triple and three home runs.
Diamond has been just as reliable at first base and is batting .298 with seven doubles and two triples.
“They also both fill major roles in our infield that we graduated,” Valente added.
The sisters honed their talents and developed their games over the past few years under the guidance of Ryan Colegrove, who has proven to be one of the best high school coaches in the area and has built a Little 4 dynasty at Hoopa High.
And she believes they have the talent and mindset to continue to build on their skills and succeed at the collegiate level, much like Hunsucker, a Hoopa graduate who enjoyed plenty of success at CR.
“They are both hard working and fun to coach,” Colegrove said of the twins. “They will bring lots of strength to the next level. I can’t wait to watch them.”
The sisters still have some unfinished business to take care of on the high school softball fields and remain in contention in the NCS playoffs, with a Division-4 quarterfinal at Fortuna on Friday evening.
Last season, the Warriors won the program’s seventh NCS championship in the sport, making them the most successful H-DN softball team ever in the section playoffs.
It was also the team’s second straight NCS crown and forced a move up a division for this year’s playoffs, but so far that hasn’t slowed them down much.
Diamond and Jewely’s influence in last year’s championship was felt in more ways than one and has carried over to their senior campaign.
“Diamond and Jewely have both brought a different kind of strength to the Lady Warriors,” Colegrove said. “Not just physically but emotionally, and that has played a big part in the success of our program.
“They both have shown resiliency in the face of adversity and still show up to get things done.”
The talented duo follow in the footsteps of Fortuna’s Kylee Fennell, who committed to play for the Corsairs last week, as Valente looks to replace seven key sophomores from this year’s 21-15 team.
“We have signed three huge local impact players and hope more will look at that and want to be a part of this team,” the CR coach said. “We are working hard to fill our roles we lost in our sophomores and a team to compete to win the GVC in 2024.”
The addition of the talented twins will certainly help towards that.