La Jolla’s high school softball teams see 2023 as a season of growth and gains
The start of the high school softball season marks the beginning of a journey for many La Jolla athletes.
At La Jolla High School, an ace pitcher appears ready to take charge on the mound. At The Bishop’s School, this is the first of what figures to be several years of growth for the team. And at La Jolla Country Day School, it’s a time for bringing out the softball player in athletes from other sports.
Here’s a look at the local teams for the season that is just underway.
La Jolla High School
La Jolla High coach Anthony Sarain considers pitcher Emily Cardenas his ace, and with her leading the way, the Vikings are priming themselves for a run at the playoffs.
“I have high expectations,” Sarain said. “We also have four freshmen who are contributing right away and playing well, so I’m excited for that.”
Two years ago, the Vikings played in Division IV and made the playoffs, which the next year bumped them into Division III, where they struggled.
“We were one of those teams that made it to Division III but were not good enough to stick around, and I want to fix that,” Sarain said. “We’re developing a second pitcher and have really good hitting, whereas we have had problems with hitting in the past. This year, we started a program to improve and it’s already paying off. We scored 59 runs in four games.”
In the offseason, the Vikings worked a lot on breaking down the fundamentals of hitting, using film and different practice strategies.
The coaching staff also has worked on establishing fundamentals in the rest of the game.
“You can go 100 mph, but if it’s going in the wrong direction, it is not going to help anyone,” Sarain said. “You have to know the game and know the situation.”
The Bishop’s School
Though the season is in its infancy, the Bishop’s Knights have already had some ups and downs, coach Joey Moreno said.
“Students are doing so many things at once,” he said. “I have kids doing tech in the play, water polo girls that are competing in state [playoffs] and things like that. We had to postpone our first two games because we had players with other commitments. We’ve been dealing with that, but now that we’ve had our first week with a full team, we’re looking forward to seeing what everyone can do.”
The team has only one senior, Eve Paris, who is serving as captain. However, Moreno said, the younger players are stepping up, making the Division IV team’s greatest asset its youth and the prospect for growth.
“We are a young team, but we have players like [sophomore] Jayla Stafford,” Moreno said. “She’s pretty talented and will be our starting shortstop and one of our top hitters. She plays a lot of travel ball and [I] wouldn’t be surprised if she played Division I [college] ball.”
“I already see a ton of talent with this team,” he added. “It’s going to be up to them to train and play as a team. They have a lot of time to bond and it’s going to be exciting to see them grow together. The freshmen have a lot of background in softball, so it’s not like we just have newcomers.”
This year is Moreno’s seventh with the Knights. In that time, the team has made it to the playoffs twice and was knocked out early. So the focus this season has been on building each member’s skills so all can collectively bring their best to the field.
“Everyone has a skill and I want to ... improve on each one,” Moreno said.
La Jolla Country Day School
With a team composed mainly of freshmen, the Country Day Torreys see this as “a building year, but it’s on the higher end of building,” according to coach Erin DaSilva.
“We have 10 freshmen out of 16 players, but those 10 freshmen are athletes [in other sports],” DaSilva said. “At La Jolla Country Day, we get competitive athletes, so we are working on turning them into softball players.”
For example, she said, a basketball player may be trained to be a first baseman because of her height and quickness.
“We want to use each player’s skill [in other sports] to the team’s best ability,” DaSilva said. “We want to give everyone an opportunity to get time on the field. We also have two alumni that came back to coach part time, so they can provide one-on-one time.”
The Torreys, who also are playing in Division IV, often make it to the playoffs but recently have been knocked out in the first round.
To change that, the team has a motto of “1 percent better,” which means making small improvements on a regular basis.
“One percent better looks different for every player,” DaSilva said. “That 1 percent for a player that just picked up a softball could mean throwing the ball straight, whereas someone else that might be going to college to play ball could mean hitting the fence.
“Half the team is looking forward to getting some wins and making it to the playoffs, but the other half is just focused on getting that 1 percent better every day.”
La Jolla High School
(Home games are played at La Jolla High, 750 Nautilus St.)
March 9: Home vs. San Diego, 3:30 p.m.
March 15: Away vs. Hoover, 4 p.m.
March 21: Home vs. Canyon Hills, 4 p.m.
March 23: Home vs. Francis Parker, 3 p.m.
March 24: Home vs. Bishop’s, 3 p.m.
April 4: Home vs. Mount Miguel, 4 p.m.
April 6: Home vs. Mission Vista, 4 p.m.
April 12: Away vs. Point Loma, 4 p.m.
April 14: Away vs. Morse, 4 p.m.
April 17: Away vs. Canyon Crest, 6 p.m.
April 19: Home vs. High Tech, 4 p.m.
April 26: Home vs. San Diego, 4 p.m.
April 28: Home vs. Point Loma, 4 p.m.
May 3: Home vs. Morse, 4 p.m.
May 5: Away vs. High Tech, 4 p.m.
May 12: Home vs. San Diego, 4 p.m.
The Bishop’s School
(Home games are played at Bishop’s, 7607 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla.)
March 14: Home vs. Maranatha Cristian, 4 p.m.
March 16: Home vs. La Jolla Country Day, 4 p.m.
March 21: Away vs. Escondido Charter, 4 p.m.
April 11: Home vs. Classical Academy, 4 p.m.
April 13: Home vs. Tri-City Christian, 4 p.m.
April 18: Away vs. Foothills Christian, 4 p.m.
April 20: Away vs. Maranatha Christian, 4 p.m.
April 25: Away vs. La Jolla Country Day, 4 p.m.
April 27: Home vs. Escondido Charter, 4 p.m.
May 2: Home vs. Santa Fe Christian, 4 p.m.
May 4: Away vs. Classical Academy, 4 p.m.
May 9: Away vs. Tri-City Christian, 4 p.m.
May 11: Home vs. Foothills Christian, 4 p.m.
La Jolla Country Day School
(Home games are played at La Jolla Country Day, 9490 Genesee Ave.)
March 9: Away vs. Canyon Hills, 4 p.m.
March 10: Away vs. Foothills Christian, 4 p.m.
March 14: Home vs. Tri-City Christian, 4 p.m.
March 16: Away vs. Bishop’s, 4 p.m.
March 17: Home vs. Canyon Crest, 4 p.m.
March 21: Home vs. Classical Academy, 4 p.m.
April 5: Away vs. Santa Fe Christian, 4 p.m.
April 6: Home vs. High Tech, 4 p.m.
April 7: Home vs. San Diego, 4 p.m.
April 11: Home vs. Maranatha Christian, 4 p.m.
April 18: Away vs. Escondido Charter, 4 p.m.
April 20: Away vs. Tri-City Christian, 4 p.m.
April 25: Home vs. Bishop’s, 4 p.m.
April 27: Away vs. Classical Academy, 4 p.m.
May 2: Home vs. Foothills Christian, 4 p.m.
May 4: Away vs. Maranatha Christian, 4 p.m.
May 9: Home vs. Santa Fe Christian, 4 p.m.
May 11: Home vs. Escondido Charter, 4 p.m. ◆
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