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Walnut’s Kiarra Vance brings both leadership and energy

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Kiarra Vance pitching

Kiarra Vance pitching for the Walnut Mustangs Friday April 1

Walnut High School’s sophomore softball pitcher Kiarra Vance is known to her Mustang teammates as the funny girl who brings a lot of energy and loves to crack jokes around them, but you wouldn’t know it from watching her serious demeanor on the mound.

That’s because when it comes to game time, according to her coaches and fellow players, she’s all business.

“She is probably one of the hardest working kids we have on our team, she’s very hard on herself, but because of that she will probably end up being a very good pitcher in the next couple of years,” Walnut Coach Marissa Beemer said.

Senior third baseman Justine Chavira also sees great potential in Vance.

“She’s a really good pitcher. She’s really young but before she’s a senior and goes to college I think she’ll get a lot better,” Chavira said. “I love having her on the team.  She’s really funny and she’s always motivating all of us.”

Even though Vance was coming off a rough outing on Friday afternoon when she gave up seven of the 10 runs on 12 hits against the Hacienda League rival Bonita Bearcats in a 10-0 loss, she has already earned “Player of the Week” honors this season and continues to improve her pitching.

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and though Cuevas admits that due to the fact some players are missing because of injuries, Vance has seen and will probably continue to see extended action for the Mustangs, the coach is nevertheless impressed by the young pitcher’s progress at such an early stage of her athletic career.

“She’s still learning, she just got onto a bigger travel ball team and that will help her, she will get a lot of experience playing with them,” Beemer said.

Beemer added Walnut doesn’t have a lot of players with travel ball experience and finds itself short-handed when it comes to effective pitchers.

“The other girl that threw, we pretty much got from J.V,” she said. “We don’t have anyone else. She’s throwing almost every inning and unfortunately that is hard on your body.  We really don’t have anyone besides her. She’s throwing every single day.”

Vance said what she enjoys most about being part of the Walnut team are the practices because it gives her a chance to bond with her teammates without the rigors of the actual games.

“We’re allowed to throw and play, so we get to play and bond together. The games are a bit more serious, so we have to have a more serious attitude but the practices are a lot more free spirited.

Vance and centerfielder Elaine Brown are really good friends and Vance says she finds it easy to get along with her on and off the field.

“They are best buddies and she’s as white as can be so they call themselves ebony and ivory. They’re just goofy like that, they have a nice sense of humor. They are smart kids so they can come up with stuff like that,” Beemer said.

It is that combination of personality traits: a good sense of humor mixed with a willingness to work hard, as well as a leadership spirit, that has endeared the sophomore pitcher to her teammates and garnered the admiration of her coach.

“She’s spunky.  She’s kind of silly and she’s got a great attitude.  She’s kind of the class clown, the life of the party.   She brings a ton of energy to practices,” said Beemer. “However, When you get in the game she knows how to be serious and be focused, so she understands that balance.”

Vance said her dedication to the game has been there from the start, she has been playing since she was five years old and attributes her success thus far to her grandparents who raised her and her siblings.

“If it wasn’t for them I would not be where I am. They’re very supportive of my softball career and they have the best intentions for me.”

Though Vance’s dreams are to play for a Division 1 school and favors the University of Florida because of their strong softball tradition, she said she would go to any school that granted her a scholarship or recruits her.

One day she might be a doctor, a lawyer, or a pediatrician, but for now she’s a typical 16-year-old girl who likes spending time with family and friends, watching television and going to family dinners and trips.

But unlike your typical teenage kid, she’s also got a developing repertoire of pitches, including a change up which she continues to perfect

“She’s a strong ball player and she’s going to be one of our better ball players in the next couple of years if she continues to work hard and improve,” Beemer said.





Written by sgvsports

April 3, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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