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Replacing this class is a tough task

Posted: June 2, 2009 10:04 p.m.
Updated: June 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.
NORCO – It isn’t often that a core of talent comes along like the group Hart softball featured in 2009.

What happens when they are gone?

Nine Hart seniors stepped off the high school softball field for the last time Tuesday, and five of the exiting group are committed to play Division I ball next season.

Pitching phenom Destiny Rodino, a four-year starter with a 2009 ERA of 0.73 going into Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division I semifinals against Norco, is headed to the University of California, Los Angeles.

Catcher Jessica Shults, who brought a .452 batting average, 10 home runs, 27 RBIs and 26 runs scored into the semifinals, is bound for the University of Oklahoma.

Center fielder Devon Lindvall is also headed to UCLA, while Melissa Brown will play at the University of Tennessee and Emily Henry at Chico State.

Combine those five players with the powerful bat of Heather Stiglich, Allison Lewis, Beth Ranken and Brianna Fitchpatrick, and there is little doubt as to how Hart has found such success.

“It is the end of a chapter in Hart softball,” said Indians head coach Steve Calendo. “They had 97 wins, league championships, and were always competitive in the playoffs. It is definitely the end of a chapter. The program has to reshape itself.”

But as to how it would reshape itself, Calendo remained unsure.

The 2009 Hart roster boasts one junior, five sophomores and three freshmen, all of which have had ample time to learn from some of the best.

“They worked so hard together,” said sophomore Brenna Carlson. “They were like sisters. That was instilled in us.”

Everyone agreed that it was team play that kept this team on top, and that will be the driving force in the future.

“I think we as a class made an impression of this program,” Rodino said. “The team will continue the standard and will carry on the legacy.”

Shults agrees. She knows the team’s goal next year.

“To hold the tradition,” she said. “It was a great run and we had great people.”

With an influx of young talent, Calendo was also not ready to name his next set of stars.

However, the team will like rely on such players as Carlson, Tracy Chandless, junior Caitlyn Zimmerman and Emili Escamilla, who was one of only two other pitchers besides Rodino to step into the circle this season.

Escamilla served as a courtesy runner during the 2-0 semifinal loss to Norco on Tuesday, while Carlson and Chandless both started in the outfield.

However, the program and Hart fans alike will have to get used to a brand new infield next season.

And maybe, if the 2010 Indians are successful, a fifth straight meeting with Norco will be in the cards.

“I think we well have a lot of good players,” Carlson said with a smile. “Hopefully we will get another shot.”


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