By John Philip Wyllie
A year ago, the Eastlake High School Softball Team was a perfect 10-0 in Mesa League play and battled a tough Poway team evenly before eventually falling 6-5 in the first round of the CIF playoffs. Senior outfielder and third baseman, Delores Lizarraga hopes the Titans can repeat as league champions this season and then drive a little deeper into the postseason playoffs. Her coach, Aida Esquer, is counting on Lizarraga to be one of the team’s leaders this season.
“She didn’t have too big of a role last year due to the fact that we had some seniors in front of her, but she is a senior now and she is really stepping it up. She is out here given it 110% all the time and always working hard. She is a good leader and very well spoken so she is going to be one of our key role players. I think she will be pretty well balanced (offensively and defensively). Her hitting has come along a lot this season. She is a consistent power hitter, not one that will have a lot of home runs, but one that will hit a lot of line drives and get the job done when we need it.”
Coming from an athletic family in which her father and older brothers played baseball, Lizarraga began playing softball at the age of eight. While softball is nothing new to her, she finds herself in a little different position in this, her senior year.
“(The younger players) look up to us and come to us for help. I enjoy that, but at the same time it is kind of hard because they are basically about the same age. So, I can’t be too hard on them.”
Another thing Lizarraga will have to get used to is what looks to be an expanded role at third base.
“I am really confident with my hitting, but I need to work on my fielding a little bit. I am more confident (fielding) in the outfield because that is where I usually played last year. Sometimes they brought me in (to the infield) but usually only when somebody was missing. I think I’ll still spend most of my time in the outfield since that is where I am the most confident.”
A year ago Esquer tried to recruit Lizarraga for the Mexican national team on which she plays. While that goal was thwarted by the tangle of paperwork required to establish her eligibility, Lizarraga would like to try again following this season.
“Last year I just didn’t have enough time to get all my paperwork in, but I have heard that there is some really good competition down there. People come back knowing a lot more, so I’d like to try it.”
Following her graduation this June, Lizarraga intends to enroll at Mesa College and play for their highly regarded program.