Fri, Apr 13 2012 12:34 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Bonita Vista coach John Carlson is the first to admit that the ending to last year’s high school softball season was a major disappointment for his team. The Barons carried an imposing 34-1 record into the San Diego Section Division II championship game and were bidding to become the school’s first CIF champion in the sport.
But the West Hills Wolf Pack had other ideas and stung the reigning Mesa League co-champions with a 4-0 defeat.
“West Hills played a good game — we had a bad day to have a bad day,” Carlson said.
But that was last year, and the Barons are back to business in 2012.
“Our goals remain the same every year,” Carlson said. “Those are to win league, try to win CIF and get better each game.”
With 10 players returning from last year’s 34-2 team that captured its first 26 games before tasting defeat, this year’s BVHS team is loaded with experience. Perhaps not surprisingly then, the Barons have had very few “bad days” so far this spring.
Carlson’s crew improved to 12-3-1 on the season by defeating the Hilltop Lancers, 7-1, in the teams’ Mesa League opener on Tuesday.
Bonita Vista and Hilltop shared last year’s league banner by exchanging victories.
Carlson said he isn’t picking any favorites this year. “Regardless of records, we take each team as the same,” the BVHS coach said.
The Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders, the defending Division IV champions, and the Eastlake Titans both joined the Barons as the early leaders in the six-team Mesa League also with victories on Tuesday.
Mater Dei Catholic defeated the Otay Ranch Mustangs, 11-1, behind two RBI each from Skania Lemus, Kimberly Tamayo and Taylor Cruse, while Eastlake blanked the Olympian Eagles 11-0.
Lauren Gomez, Haydn Christensen and Dylan Christensen each drove in two runs to lead Eastlake while Harriet Esquivel slammed a solo home run. Ariana Macedo and Kyllie Diaz combined to record the shutout in the pitching circle.
Alex Vargas cracked a two-run home run to highlight a five-run third inning outburst to get Bonita Vista rolling against Hilltop. Ashley Quidolit, Carolyn Wright and Natalie Cox were each credited with one RBI. Anissa Pinedo scored twice.
Senior ace Jennifer Hartman scattered four hits while striking out eight Lancers to improve to 9-1. She owns a 1.59 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 66 innings.
Hartman and Cassie Bolin combined to no-hit Grossmont, 8-0, last Saturday in a Falcon Fiesta tournament game. Hartman pitched the first five innings, facing 17 batters, striking out five and walking two.
Carlson lists Hartman; senior first baseman Celinna Cosio; junior shortstop Hannah Flippen; Pinedo, a senior third baseman, and Vargas, a sophomore pitcher, as the team’s impact players this season.
The BVHS coach said Hartman, Flippen and Cosio have stepped up to assume team leadership roles.
Flippen leads the team with a .431 hitting average, followed by Quidolit (.380), Wright (.360), Cosio (.333) and Pinedo (.333). RBI leaders include Pinedo (15), Cosio (11) and Wright (nine).
Cosio and Pinedo lead the team with two home runs each while Flippen leads the team with three triples.
Vargas has a 1.78 ERA with 20 strikeouts (against just five walks) in 35 innings.
Despite the Barons’ relatively strong start, Carlson still calls this year’s team “a work in progress.”
“We’re learning,” he said. “We have some younger players in there. We lost some very talented players to graduation in some key positions. But we’re getting there.”
Conversely, Hilltop returns just three starters off last year’s league co-championship squad. The Lancers dropped to 3-12 overall following Tuesday’s setback.
Veronica Lopez took the loss against Bonita Vista. Three Lancer errors didn’t help the effort.
“I think everyone knows how competitive the Mesa League is this year,” veteran HHS coach Nancy Acerrio said. “I’m looking for us to stay in the race and remain competitive.”
© 2009 The Star-News