April 17, 2009

Valdivia Focused on Future

By John Philip Wyllie

Despite being only a sophomore Eastlake High pitcher Kristin Valdivia already has a varied arsenal at her disposal whenever she faces her opponents. Her development can be traced to an early start, a family that is just crazy about softball and intense competition on both sides of the border.

“I started when I was really little playing tee-ball and Bobby Sox. I have played year- round and never have had a season off since I was about four or five. I’ve played with Bonita Valley, at Las Palmas and then for my dad when he started a team (National City Force). I’ve been playing for him ever since,” Valdivia said.

It was probably inevitable that Valdivia would develop into a fine softball player. Her father and mother play together on a co-ed team. Her dad plays softball on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and he also occasionally plays baseball and coaches her team. Her brother plays baseball. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for anyone in the family to do anything else.

Somehow Valdivia has been able to find time for studying.

“I started off kind of rough last year (academically), but this year I have about a 3.8 G.P.A,” she said.

Along the way Valdivia has spent a lot of time playing in Mexico.

“I’ve played down there for the past few years in the Open Division along with my mom and I have also played on some youth teams. At the same time, my dad has been playing on his teams, so when I am not playing myself, I am watching him play. I was selected to play on one of their Baja California Junior Olympic teams, but I am still need to get the paperwork together for that. I’ve played in tournaments for Tijuana’s Otay in Ensenada, Mexicali and Tecate.”

Currently, she is one of the most experienced players on Eastlake’s team. She is known primarily as a pitcher, but also plays first and second base.

“As a result of having played softball for quite a while Kristin knows the game,” said pitching coach Walter Minter. “Her main strength is her desire. When she is ready to play she is as good of a pitcher as we have on our staff. She has a good fastball, a good screwball and a wicked change-up. What we are trying to do right now is get her to be more consistent with those pitches and add a few new ones. She is well on her way to developing a drop ball and a slider. She loves what she does and when she is not playing, Kristin is our biggest cheerleader. She is always encouraging the other kids.”

A year ago, Valdivia struggled at the plate, but her hitting has improved this year as a result of extra time spent in the batting cage. Her biggest contribution however, remains her pitching.

While college is still several years down the road Valdivia has already made up her mind that she wants to pitch in college. She hopes to one day attend the University of Texas.

My dream is one day be a T.V. anchorwoman. I am pretty strong in English and I write well, so my fallback position is to be an English teacher, but I want to first take some classes that would prepare me to be a T.V. anchorwoman and see how I like it.

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