by Salvador Mena The 2013-2014 varsity softball team at John F. Kennedy High School is looking for a chance to play for the CIF championship and come back home with a championship title.
With the season at its midway point, the Golden Cougars have a total record of 16-5 and a 6-1 league record. Last year, Kennedy’s softball team ended their season with an overall record of 25-10; they made it to the championship but ended up short, losing to Carson High School (7-1). Due to that loss, this year’s varsity softball girls want to come out strong and win the ring that was supposed to be theirs last year. Varsity softball coach Carmen Gurrola feels that this year’s team is “pretty strong offensively and defensively” and if they keep playing to a high standard day in and day out they will eventually emerge as CIF champs.
According to Max Preps, senior 1st baseman Evelyn Mendoza is leading the team with a batting average of .460, 23 total hits, and 16 RBI’s in 18 games. Mendoza feels good about being the leader for the team because it is her last year of playing softball for Kennedy High School and she also loves helping her team out.
Freshman infielder Valery Rivas believes that this year’s team has a high chance of capturing the CIF title. Rivas says, “We have a great lineup and we are also solid defensively. Our starting pitcher has been in a championship situation, so she knows what she has to do for the team.” This year’s team consists of many athletes playing as a whole and not playing as individuals.
Coach Gurrola states, “There is more than one leader that motivates the girls from the freshmen class all the way to the senior class.” At the games, the ladies talk to each other all throughout. Whether they are playing offensively or defensively, they are always verbally active.
“I try to bring a positive attitude every day even when I’m down on myself, and I try my best to pick up my teammates,” says senior infielder Melissa Boundy. With the loss of coach Craig Becker at the beginning of the season, the ladies had to push through and learn to play with the new coach.
Junior outfielder Mariah Ellis says, “It was hard knowing that he would not be coach for the rest of the season, but I know that he would want us to continue to play the way we always did and to build up as a team even if he isn’t there.”
Coming in to a new team may be challenging at first, because the players are accustomed to a certain coaching technique, therefore Coach Gurrola says that she tried to not change too much. However little by little, she adds in her style of coaching but nothing too drastic that would mess with the team’s style of play. Even with a new coach entering the team in the middle of the season, Rivas states, “We are a strong group of girls and all we can do is adapt to the changed and stay focused on our goal as a team.”
If the varsity softball team keeps playing their hardest and improving after every game and practice, their chances of winning the ring will be very high. The team’s goal is to successfully end the season as CIF champs and to bring the title back to where it should be: Kennedy High School.