Senior outfielder having career season after rough college start

Nene Alas nearly doubles her batting average in two years time


Eric Jaramishian - The State Hornet

Nene Alas is finishing her final season at Sac State. The senior from San Bernardino is hitting .353 this season.

Aaron Jackson

Sacramento State senior outfielder Nene Alas, in her fourth and final softball season as a Hornet, has gone from struggling in her first two years to having the second highest batting average on the team.

“I didn’t initially perform the way I wanted to or get the results I wanted and how I changed that was focusing on hitting the weights and getting stronger and faster,” Alas said. “I prepared myself physically and mentally and told myself there is no way that I’m not going to perform.”

Alas graduated from Cajon High School in San Bernardino in 2015 after playing softball all four years. She batted .561 in her senior season before committing to Sac State.

“Initially, I was looking to go upstate and be far from home, but as I got to Sac State I knew it was good because my parents will be here,” Alas said. “Just being able to see your parents in the stands watching you play at the highest level is great and being able to experience things here is nice.”

The transition wasn’t an easy one for the softball athlete. Alas batted under .240 her first two seasons as a Hornet. During that time, she had only 45 hits in 85 games.

“Nobody’s game is perfect,” said Sac State softball coach Lori Perez. “She is very strong so sometimes the little delicate things that require more touch like bunting she struggled with, but she worked on it and has improved immensely.”

In the summer of 2017, Alas got back together with her hitting coach, Wendy Allen, whom she worked with when she was younger.

Photo courtesy of Bob Solorio
Nene Alas leans in to make contact with the ball on Feb. 10 against Nevada at Shea Stadium. She is batting .353 on the year.

“I was so far in my head not knowing what to do and I needed someone to refresh and take baby steps with me explaining what I was doing wrong,” Alas said.

The training helped improve her game, and Alas brought her batting average to .343 in 2018, seventh best in the Big Sky Conference. Alas bumped it up even higher this season to .353, sixth in the conference.

Nene Alas Batting Average at Sac State


“She is very dedicated and literally strives for perfection when she is playing,” said Sac State senior outfielder Sydnee Strong. “She would get a ground ball base hit up the middle and that wouldn’t be good enough for her.”

Strong got to know Alas her freshman year when they lived in Jenkins Hall near one another. They two bonded over being from travel ball teams — Alas played for the Firecrackers in Huntington Beach during the summer for eight years while Strong played for the San Jose Lady Sharks. Alas played four of those summers under coach Jeff Blanco between 2012-15.

“I initially noticed that she was an extremely hard worker, was very quiet, but played hard,” Blanco said. “What I hope she learned from me was the importance of competing at your highest level at all times while understanding the finer details of the game.”

She helped the Firecrackers win the Triple Crown Sports Colorado Fireworks National Championship and place third at the Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championship in 2013.

Alas has been described as a person with a great work ethic by many of her peers, such as coach Perez, and a team leader as well.

“She has welcomed being a leader even if it’s not something that may be natural for her,” Perez said. “She wants to be someone who is dependable and consistent. More importantly, I think where she has grown the most is being more vocal.”

Alas wears the No. 84 on the back of her jersey in honor of her uncle Douglas, another pitcher, she said, who died in 2009.

“Seeing him enjoy his time on the mound and always talk to us about how we were so good and that there was so much ahead of us, I think he played so much of a role,” Alas said.

Alas is a health science major and is planning on going into nursing school at either California State University, Fullerton or Concordia University in Irvine once she graduates. Alas currently has an internship at Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova.

“I do see softball in the future and have thought about playing overseas, but my plans right now are to take things one day at a time,” Alas said. “If the opportunity does come my way I think I would take it, but right now it’s not a big concern of mine.”

The Hornets (27-18, 8-3 Big Sky) currently have seven regular-season games left before beginning the Big Sky Conference Tournament May 8.