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Photo courtesy of Shauna Dalbianco

Karli Dalbianco of Liberty Ranch signs her letter of intent to play softball for Stanislaus State at Arnaiz Stadium on Nov. 11.

Despite playing softball since she was seven, Karli Dalbianco’s recruitment experience this year was an unexpected process, much like other student-athletes trying to reach the next step in their athletic goals this year.

“A normal recruiting process is girls get exposure by playing in tournaments. With COVID, I wasn’t really getting that exposure,” Dalbianco said. “That’s what separated my year from previous years. It was very stressful.”

Though her spring season was cancelled at Liberty Ranch after COVID hit in March and sports were cancelled due to safety measures, a light came at the end of the tunnel; Dalbianco was offered a scholarship from Stanislaus State.

“It was probably one of the most relieving and rewarding things to happen. I was stressed out the whole process because of COVID when it happened,” Dalbianco said.

As a result, Dalbianco, who has been coached her entire career by her mom, Hawk varsity softball head coach Shauna Dalbianco, will make the jump next fall from a Hawk to becoming a Warrior after receiving the news from the Warriors’ head coach.

“I was expecting a call from the coach. I told her, ‘I really like this school’. She told me, ‘¥ou seem like a good fit for our program’,” Dalbianco said when asked who told her the news.

Her resume includes playing club softball for mom’s team, Galt Illusion, and playing high school softball at Liberty Ranch High School. Though the 2020 season was cancelled, as a sophomore Dalbianco’s stats spoke volumes with a .568 batting average, 25 hits including three home runs, 28 runs and 24 RBI over 14 games.

Last week, the Liberty Ranch senior celebrated her signing with a ceremony at Arnaiz softball complex with those close to her including her parents, brother, sister-in-law, sister and niece.

A multi-sport athlete, Dalbianco played soccer last year for the Hawks and hopes to play both softball and soccer this year.

A fan of Grey’s Anatomy starting from when she was “around 11 or 12,” Dalbianco says she was inspired by the show and plans to study nursing in college.

For softball, her inspiration comes from a more personal source, her mom.

“It’s been great, honestly,” Dalbianco said of playing softball on teams coached by her mom. “I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We’ve had our fair share of disputes over softball – she’s very educated in the softball world. She’s made me the player I am today. I would not be where I am without her at all.”