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Barons hoping to rebound after slow start to 2014 season John Philip Wyllie | Fri, Apr 11 2014 06:55 PM

Following a season in which they reached the San Diego Section Division II championship game and, with a roster that includes several players who contributed to their 2012 CIF championship team, expectations were high coming into this softball season for the Bonita Vista Barons.

Surprisingly, 10 games into the season, Bonita Vista finds itself just two games over .500 at 6-4. Even worse, the Barons are trailing three teams in the powerful Metro-Mesa League in terms of overall record. The good news for the Barons is that league play has yet to begin, and there is still time to salvage what many expect to be a season filled with definite playoff implications.

While coach John Carlson has his 2013 roster largely intact, the Barons lost All-CIF shortstop and league MVP Hannah Flippen to graduation. Her skills earned her a scholarship to the University of Utah, but her leadership abilities were every bit as important. That leadership role now falls on a trio of talented seniors: Tianah Hathaway, Carolyn Wright and Alex Vargas.

Vargas, a first-team all-league selection in 2013, shares the pitching duties with fellow all-league first-teamer and  2013 Mesa Pitcher of the Year Isabel Ortiz. Wright, a second team all-leaguer a year ago, handles the team’s catching duties and has been BV’s most consistent hitter. She will be heading to Lehigh University next fall on a softball scholarship.

First base is split between Vargas (when she’s not pitching) and junior Kaylynn Lopez-Liu. At second base the Barons feature sophomore Jo Jo Nicolas. Nicolas has a strong glove and a fairly consistent bat.

Lani Graft started the season at third base, but has since moved over to the all-important shortstop position. Graft has demonstrated a lot of poise at shortstop, especially in view of the fact that she is a freshman. Rounding out the infield is sophomore third baseman Brittany Wyllie.

Junior left fielder Ashley Quidolit garnered first-team all-league honors in 2013. She uses her blazing speed effectively as the Barons lead-off hitter. Center fielder Hathaway will be heading to Villanova on a softball scholarship next season. She, too, possesses excellent speed and a strong arm.

Rounding out the lineup is sophomore right fielder Aaliyah Jordan. Like Quidolit and Hathaway, she has great speed and a strong arm, but she also brings power to the plate.

“We have a lot of talented kids in our lineup and several more on the bench,” Carlson noted. “Optimistically, I think we are finally starting to jell, but it won’t be easy. Mater Dei, Otay Ranch and Eastlake are all strong teams with good pitching.”

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