Colfax, Placer rivals to be college softball teammates

By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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Plain and simple, catcher Claire Hansen and shortstop Steffany Dunn are playing for bragging rights.

When the victor boasts, however, depends on who you ask. And while any Placer-Colfax game has a lot on the line, this one takes on extra meaning for these two girls because they’ll be softball teammates next year at Willamette University in Salem, Ore.

Hansen’s Lady Hillmen head to Colfax Tuesday for a 4 p.m. Pioneer Valley League rival game.

“It’s really fun because we both know each other pretty well,” Hansen said of competing against Dunn, who is also on her Yard Sharks travel ball team. “It gives you more motivation to win. It’s fun because you can have bragging rights.”

Said Dunn: “It’s definitely for bragging rights. Not only on our travel team but in college it would be nice to hold it over her.”

Should Colfax (5-4) beat Placer (3-8-1), Hansen should probably be expecting a call or text message from Dunn ASAP. During the recently completed basketball season, Dunn made it a point to let Hansen know every time the Falcon boys beat Placer.

“Whenever my team beat hers I said, ‘How did that feel?’” Dunn said. “It’d be nice to do that in softball, too.”

 Hansen feels that the looming softball game is much more important because the two will actually be playing a part in the outcome.

But make no mistake about it: Hansen and Dunn have nothing but respect for each other.

Of Dunn, Hansen said, “I’d probably rather have her on my team than play against her just because she’s really positive and encouraging and really fun.”

Dunn offered similar praise of Hansen.

“She is one of the best teammates you could ever have,” Dunn said. “She’s always positive, always uplifting and always is talking. As an opponent she’s always positive still. You can tell she’s still competitive but she’s never mean. But she can get intense. I think it’s the look in her eyes when she’s got the mask on — she wants to win.”

You can sure bet that Hansen wants to win. But if she does, she said she won’t talk about it until the girls are playing ball in college.

Being teammates on the Bearcats is something both athletes are excited about.

“It’s going to be a little bit different because we grew up in high school not liking each other’s high school,” Dunn said. “But Yard Sharks has helped make a bond already.”

At Willamette, Dunn plans on majoring in pre-medicine. While Hansen has interests in teaching special education and exercise science, she is undecided.

One thing that she is decided on: She wants to beat Colfax Tuesday.

“I’m hoping to have some bragging rights,” Hansen said. “That’d be nice.”

Said Dunn: “Right now I know I definitely want to beat her. Next year it will be a game we can play with each other.”

Not so fast, ladies.

On April 25 Colfax comes to Auburn for a rematch — so it’s possible neither Dunn nor Hansen will have bragging rights when it’s all said and done if the two teams split the series.  

But if one team sweeps the other, somebody’s never going to hear the end of it.

Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter@matthewkimel