By John Philip Wyllie
At 6-5 heading into this week’s Longhorn Tournament hosted by Rancho Buena Vista, the Chula Vista Spartan Softball Team has looked strong in spots and vulnerable in others. Veteran team captain and returning all-Mesa league shortstop Marina Rojero believes that the best is yet to come.
“Our team is very good this year. Our defense has allowed us to battle with some of the strong teams (that they have on their pre-league schedule). Our defense is on top of everything. Offensively, we just need to bring our bats around. Once league play begins (on Thursday), I think we will do even better,” Rojero said.
The Spartan captain has called the team’s shortstop position her home for the last three seasons, but her career between second and third dates back far beyond that.
“When I was little, I used to go to my brother’s baseball games all the time. When I turned nine, I decided that I wanted to play myself,” Rojero recalled. She was disappointed to learn that baseball was only for boys.
“As soon as I saw a sign-up notice for the South San Diego Softball League, I got involved,” she recalled. “I started as a shortstop and I stayed there when I went on to Bobby Sox. Many years and teams later, Rojero finds herself scooping up softballs in the Spartan middle infield. She has no intention of stopping anytime soon. She hopes to extend her career next season as a freshman at either at SDSU or Fullerton State where she will train to become a nurse.
Like Castle Park’s Mari Corona and Crystal Armas, Rojero has represented Mexico over the years as part of their national softball team. She expects to be on the roster when its under-22 team travels to Acapulco this summer. Playing against her Mexican national team pals in high school competition has its advantages and disadvantages.
“Many of the same girls have been playing on that team since we were little,” she said. “Knowing them so well, I know where they hit the ball and how to play them, but they also know me too.”
This year, Rojero has taken on the role as the Spartan captain. It has been a challenge.
“It’s hard being the captain because there are so many different personalities to deal with. You have to be fair with everybody, but you also have to push them hard. I try to encourage them and set an example for them.”
“Marina knows how to get the girls going,” said Spartan coach, Rocky Miller. “She has good range at short, a good arm and her hitting is coming around. She knows the game and how to play it. She is a good team leader.”