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Could this be 'the year' for Bonita Vista softball team? Phillip Brents | Tue, Apr 19 2011 11:18 AM

John Carlson has coached the Bonita Vista High School softball team for eight years and, knock on wood, the best may finally be ready to make itself apparent in this year’s San Diego Section playoffs. The Barons advanced as far as last year’s quarterfinals. Something better may be in store for this year’s team.

“Before the season I was talking with some of my coaches and we kind of agreed that this year might be the start of something,” said Carlson, whose team improved to 11-0 this season following Monday’s (March 28 ) 17-0 victory against Olympian.

Few might dispute the BVHS coaching staff’s optimism.

The Barons captured last year’s Mesa League championship with a 10-0 record and completed the season 21-7-1 overall.

Boosted by an experienced returning line-up, and several impact freshmen, Bonita Vista could be poised for a truly breakout season in 2011. The Barons captured the championship tournament of the Escondido Cougar Classic in early March and enters this weekend’s finals of the Hilltop tournament 3-0.

“We’re well-rounded,” Carlson said matter-of-factly. “We have some speed. We have some power. We have some pitching. We have coaching and we have experience.”

It’s a pretty potent combination.

In its 11-0 start, Bonita Vista has outscored its opponents 111-7 with a combined .439 hitting average and .650 slugging percentage.

The Barons’ senior class includes outfielder Kayla Jordan, shortstop Jaycee Carlson, second baseman Andrea Lata and right fielder Ruby Elliott. The team’s talented juniors include third baseman Anissa Pinedo, first baseman Celinna Cosio, pitcher Jennifer Hartman and catcher Chelsy Ramirez.

Three ninth graders look to make significant contributions this season: pitcher Alex Vargas, catcher Carolyn Wright and outfielder Tianah Hathaway.

Bonita Vista went 6-0 to win the Cougar Classic (March 9-14). Hartman picked up four wins in the tournament while Vargas won two games, including the championship game — a 5-0 victory against Mt. Carmel.

Jordan was the hitting star against the Sundevils with a double, home run and three RBI while Vargas spun a two-hitter, striking out five batters and walking none.

“I have no qualms about starting a freshman in a big game,” the BVHS coach said.

It was the first time the Barons had competed in the North County event. “That tournament is loaded with North County teams and going up there definitely tested us,” the elder Carlson said.

But the Barons were up to the task, defeating Clairemont (15-0), Helix (13-0), Rancho Buena Vista (7-0), Escondido (5-3), Scripps Ranch (7-0) and Mt. Carmel (5-0).

“We scored 52 runs and gave up only three,” the BVHS coach said. “We got great pitching and hitting.”

The Barons opened the Falcon-Fiesta tournament on March 18 with a 9-2 victory against Granite Hills and then shut out Point Loma, 3-0, in a non-league game on March 22. The Bonitans then swept their opening two games in the rain-delayed Hilltop tournament with wins against El Cajon Valley (14-2) and Southwest (16-0) last Saturday.

The Barons completed pool play undefeated in the Hilltop tournament with Monday’s victory against Olympian and will advance to this Saturday’s playoffs (April 2) at Olympian High School.

Entering Wednesday’s non-league game against Mira Mesa,  Jordan led the Barons with a .593 hitting average, followed by Flippen (.531), Cosio (.455), Lara (.444), Elliott (.417) and Pinedo (.393). RBI leaders included Cosio (17), Jordan (16), Lara (11) and Pinedo (10).

Vargas had yet to allow an earned run while Hartman’s earned-run average was 0.74.

Bonita Vista rapped out 21 hits in Monday’s game, including three doubles and two home runs.
Despite the strong start. it remains business as usual, according to the elder Carlson.

“We have the same goals every year — to win our league and get into the playoffs … and to get better every game,” he said.

With a ton of talent and a lot of luck, tournament — and other types of — championships might be on multiple order this season.

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