Leaving a legacy: Softball, basketball mainstay Barcellos honored as South Tahoe Girls Athlete of the Year
Bailey Barcellos earned seven varsity letters in softball and basketball during her career at South Tahoe. Along the way, she made memories and friendships while competing fiercely on the diamond and the hardwood — and made an impact for both programs that will last long after graduation.
“Nothing really lasts forever, and it’s about the legacy you leave behind,” Barcellos said. “I realized that early on, and I didn’t waste a second not being my best and not being who I was.”
Barcellos’ legacy as a Viking will live on after she was named STHS Girls Outstanding Athlete of the Year for 2015-16 during a ceremony June 1. The two-sport star earned the award chosen by school administrators after serving as a central figure in South Tahoe’s softball and girls basketball programs during each of the past three years.
“Instead of just being an award it’s more of a statement — what I worked for finally paid off,” Barcellos said. “No matter how many years you have under your belt, there’s always something you can improve on. Getting Athlete of the Year is a representation of what I’ve encountered throughout my process.”
In both softball and basketball, Barcellos brought passion and energy on a regular basis. What the 5-foot-2-inch senior lacked in size, she made up for in every way possible while truly enjoying her journey as a Viking.
“My heart and desire to win is what got me the furthest,” Barcellos said. “My favorite part about it is being able to step out on the field or the court and let myself free.”
Barcellos has been around the game of softball from a young age, and can remember shagging fly balls for her older sisters before she started playing. Her father Ave has been in the dugout since the start — including during her time at South Tahoe — and that family connection gives the sport with the “little green ball” a bigger meaning.
“Softball has always been my family sport and what I’ve done,” Barcellos said.
In addition to making the Div. I-A All-State second team as a senior, Barcellos was a Div. I-A Northern League first team selection in the utility spot. It was a fitting designation after a 2016 campaign when she saw time at pitcher, catcher, second base, shortstop and all three outfield spots.
“Players believed in her and looked to her to be the example, and coaches trusted her to always come through on and off the field,” Vikings softball coach Eric Owens said. “For Bailey the role of captain came naturally, and she always went out of her way to put the team first.”
Barcellos collected a career-high 41 hits during her senior season, finishing with a .612 batting average and 29 RBIs. And she capped a memorable campaign by achieving her ultimate goal — making the playoffs.
South Tahoe qualified for the Div. I-A Northern Region Tournament, which led to Barcellos capping her career in the postseason. She said walking to the field at Spring Creek with her teammates in advance of the Vikings’ playoff opener was the best moment during her tenure at STHS.
”There was a stage for announcing, a whole new bleacher set in the outfield, the grass was shining from the sprinklers. I just knew that was the moment I had been waiting for, and that was the moment that everything paid off,” Barcellos said. “Seeing the sight of a newly-chalked field and playoffs at our reach — it didn’t really matter what happened after.”
On the basketball court, Barcellos led South Tahoe in points and steals while playing point guard during the 2015-16 season. As the most experienced player on the team, she scored in double figures 11 times — including a career-high 22 in a win at Dayton on Jan. 30.
“It didn’t go the way the team wanted it to, but it was really important for everyone to see how you can miss an opportunity just like that,” Barcellos said. “Having a lot of similarities and a similar desire to win as my coach [Mike Neiger] really brought the positive into the season.”
While celebrating the award, Barcellos was quick to mention her teammates and coaches as big contributors to her success — including Owens and Neiger. For all that she has accomplished during her South Tahoe career, Barcellos knows she didn’t get there completely by herself.
“Everyone I’ve ever played with or been coached by has fed into the person and athlete I am,” Barcellos said. “You can’t do it alone — there’s always people that help and guide you.”
Barcellos will continue her education at San Diego State in the fall. She plans to study computer science in pursuit of a technology-related career — with similar versatility that served both her and her teammates so well on the softball diamond at South Tahoe.