By John Philip Wyllie
The Castle Park Lady Trojans got their South Bay League season off on the right foot with a lopsided win over Southwest last week. The win couldn’t have come at a better time. Off to a slow 5-8 start, the game provided the Trojans with some much needed confidence. That confidence will no doubt come in handy as they try to contend for a league banner. Winning that banner is a primary goal of their exceptional senior shortstop, Veronica Ollier.
“Veronica is a team captain, a leader and a motivator,” according to her coach, Angela Yuhas. “The shortstop controls the field. It’s a pivotal spot. She takes the cut offs and she is responsible for infield control. She has a lot on her shoulders, but she has been doing a good job this year and she is motivating the other girls defensively as well as offensively.
Ollier is the Trojans leadoff hitter. She often uses her knack for bunting to get on base. Once there, she terrorizes opposing pitchers with her uncanny ability to steal bases.
“Veronica is a very smart base runner and she is leading the team in steals,” Yuhas said. “She has a distinct knowledge of the game that includes things like positioning, mechanics and fielding and she reacts quickly to whatever is happening on the field.”
Ollier debuted on the varsity team at the end of her freshman year. Since that time she has become a fixture at shortstop and leading contributor. When she arrived at Castle Park four years ago, she was primarily a basketball player. Her basketball coach at the time, Chris Martinez, influenced her to try out for his softball team.
“My softball career really began as a freshman when decided to stick with the coach that I had for basketball. His was the most dedicated program that I have seen on this campus. He’s the one that taught me to love the game and kept me going.”
Now Ollier is a two-sport star, but her focus beyond high school will be on playing softball and obtaining a degree in nursing.
Her 3.5 G.P.A. was good enough to get her into SDSU and SDSU San Marcos, but realizing that her chances of playing collegiate softball are better at a junior college, she has elected to begin her college career at San Diego City College.
“I practiced with their team during the summer and I like them. Their coach is great and she has a lot of connections to other (four year) colleges,” Ollier said.
While the Trojans have been competitive in each of the four years that Ollier has played here, they have fallen short in their quest for a league title. She thinks that may change this year.
“We lost a few girls after last year, but we have a lot of returnees. We’ve been close before, but we have not won a league title (during her tenure). I think this is the strongest that we have been since I’ve played here and our best chance at winning league.”