By John Philip Wyllie
It has been a long time since Chula Vista High School was dominant in softball. The last time the Spartans won the league title (1993) most of the current players were still in diapers. But after posting a 11-4 record through their first 15 games the Spartans seem primed to make a run at this year’s Mesa League crown. Among the many talented athletes at coach Jackson Wyatt’s disposal is junior outfielder, Adriana Garcia.
“Adriana is our lead-off hitter and starting in our outfield. She is batting over .300 and has a textbook perfect swing. When I am trying to help the other girls with their hitting mechanics I call Adriana over and have her model it for them,” Wyatt said.
Garcia’s value to the team however, goes a lot further than how she has helped in a technical way. Her personality is a major plus.
“Adriana is a natural leader by her attitude and personality. She is always the first one to start cheers and she is always positive. The other girls feed on that. She keeps the other kids motivated and is always asking questions about the game. She puts people at ease and is able to offer them constructive criticism.”
Garcia has good reason to be knowledgeable; she comes from a family of ball players.
“My grandpa, dad, uncle and mom all played so you could say it’s a family thing,” Garcia said. “I started in second grade in tee-ball and I liked it, but at first I wasn’t very good at it. I can remember striking out and crying all the way back to the dugout. As I got older I got better and I started playing all-stars and with traveling teams.”
After a freshman year that was rewarded with All-League mention her career took a detour to Hawaii.
“I didn’t know anyone there, so playing softball helped me to make friends. The level of play over there is similar to here. It is taken very seriously. There is some very good competition in Hawaii just as there is here in Southern California.”
While she enjoyed her stay on Oahu, she is equally glad to be back home. Her focus now is bringing a long-absent league title back to Chula Vista High. She doesn’t have to do it single-handedly, Chula Vista has several dominant players.
“Amber Mann, our senior shortstop has been first team All-League player for the last three years and she batted .460 last year and could easily play Division I softball,” Wyatt said. “Angel Gilroy is another four year varsity player. She is headed to UC Davis and considering the possibility of walking on there. She has got plenty of talent should she decide to do that. Our freshman pitcher, Sarah Tippets (who opened the season with an 8-2 record) has been a pleasant surprise.”
“We were 4-11 my first year and finished in last place. Our goal this year is to get into the playoffs and hopefully win league.”
Behind Tippetts’ pitching and with run support from players like Mann, Gilroy and Garcia the Spartans have a good shot at it.