By John Philip Wyllie
Last year, while still only a freshman, Elizabeth Vargas hit .306 and earned a spot as a utility player for the Mesa League softball champion Bonita Vista Barons. This season Vargas is back in the hope of becoming the team’s regular left fielder or third baseman. With only two seniors in the starting lineup, young players such as Vargas will have to step up in order for the Barons capture their second consecutive league championship.
“Liz is a really hard working kid. She comes to practice early and stays late in order to work on things. She is the kind of player that any coach would like to have around,” Carlson said.
Her love of the game began immediately once she started playing at the age of 11, but she was aware of the game long before she began playing it.
“My dad played a lot of baseball when he was young. Later on, he got involved with slow pitch softball and we used to go watch his games. At first, there wasn’t too much interest for me. I just wanted to be with my friends, but once I started getting into it I just fell in love with it. I have been playing ever since.”
Vargas likes to be where the action is.
“I usually play in left field, but I sometimes play third base as well. If we are playing a really good hitting team that can put it out into the outfield then I like to play left field. But if it is one of those teams that hits to the infield then I’d rather be in the action there.”
Vargas considers her fielding ability her primary strength. Her work at the plate this spring has been hindered somewhat by a late start. When the softball season began, she was involved with the school’s league champion soccer team. But once they were eliminated from the CIF playoffs she traded in her soccer ball for a bat and glove and set immediately to work. While she enjoys soccer, she considers softball her primary sport.
Both soccer and softball however, take a back seat to what she does in the classroom.
Vargas is a top-notch student with a G.P.A. 4.3 and an academic load filled with challenging advanced placement courses. When she graduates in 2010, she hopes to be an I.B. candidate and then go on to college with either an academic or athletic scholarship.
Despite the fact that both her parents hail from Tijuana and that Spanish was her first language, Vargas began losing her ability to converse in Spanish after several years of going to school on this side of border. Wanting to hold on to her Hispanic identity, she has been taking Spanish at school and using it whenever possible with her grandparents and other Spanish speaking friends and relatives.
“My American culture is awesome, but my Mexican heritage is just as great. I love all of the traditions of both of them and I am very proud to say that I am a Mexican-American.”