Bonita Varsity Softballers Well Conditioned for Great Season

March 21, 2009
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Dedication is … waking up at 3 a.m. driving down the 57 freeway, arriving at work at 4:30 a.m., running a large cabinet shop of roughly 200 employees, heading back up the freeway about 2 p.m., slipping on a baseball cap and then heading over to Las Flores Park each day to coach the Bonita varsity girls softball team. And doing it all with high energy and enthusiasm.


That’s Bonita’s first-year coach Ken Carlson, whose positive and energetic coaching helped the varsity girls reel off seven straight wins to start the season, including taking the Palm Springs tournament championship.


Carlson attributes his team’s fast start to a tough off-season conditioning program.


“I think when I came on board the kids were a little confused,” Carlson said. “I had them training as if they were preparing for the track team. The majority of our first few weeks together were spent running. The idea was just to get their feet moving and get them conditioned.


“I truly feel that anyone can play a sport, but you have to be conditioned to play that sport. If your mind and body are truly conditioned, then you can better focus on the sport itself.”


His philosophy paid early-season dividends in a 5-3 victory over San Dimas, which was decided in extra innings under the international tie-breaker format.


“Our conditioning made it possible for us to outlast that team,” said Carlson, who is assisted by head JV coach Joe Sannicolas. “They are a great team, too, but we were just able to cash in on our conditioning and outlast them.”


Although the Bearcats dropped their opener, 6-4, to three-peat league champion Los Altos last week, Carlson again liked his players’ grit and focus.


Los Altos got the win and definitely deserved it,” Carlson said, “but we actually got the prize. We were able to learn a lot from that game. We learned a lot about ourselves as a squad. We now understand what it takes to play the whole game and play a seasoned, championship-style team. We certainly look forward to the next two outings with them, and I think you’re going to see a different story.”


For now, the story is a well-balanced team that’s receiving contributions from players across the diamond, starting with a four-deep pitching staff of junior Chloe Wurst, senior and Western Oklahoma-bound Amber Bachman, junior Karisa Crawford and senior Hannah Carter. “At any given time, I can put in any one of those four pitchers. It’s a real luxury,” said Carlson, adding that he feels like Laker Coach Phil Jackson given the talent and depth of his squad he has to work with. “We have all these wonderful players, with all this energy and high profiles.”


At first, Wurst, Carter and Crawford share duties, depending on who’s pitching inside the circle.


At second, Bachman and Carly Braveman are seeing the majority of play, especially since Carlson has moved Clarice Spathias to third. “Moving Clarice to third, we kind of found a diamond in the rough,” Carlson added.


At short is junior Jacki Campa, who Carlson said is as “solid and dependable as they come.”


Sophomore Ciara Liscano handles chores behind the plate. “She does a great job of helping me handle all these strong pitchers,” Carlson said. “Strong-willed, strong mind.”


In center is Carlson’s “Hoover” vacuum cleaner, Breeanna Sandoval. “Not much gets by her,” Carlson said. “She’s also our leadoff. We’re blessed with her because she’s only a sophomore.”


Sandoval is flanked by outstanding outfielders Breanna Vargas in left and Vanessa Romero in right.


Also bolstering the roster are up-and-coming underclassmen Ashlyn Canchola, Alejandra Garay and Alexis Moreno.


Carlson believes his cast of players can take Bonita deep into the playoffs.


“We’re going to say focused,” Carlson said. “Our commitment is to go after that CIF crown.”


Bonita’s next home game is against Charter Oak at Las Flores Park in La Verne on April 2.


For more information about Bonita softball, visit the team Web site at




One Response to “Bonita Varsity Softballers Well Conditioned for Great Season”

  1. Good Job Bearcats you make the school proud. Keep up the good work and no matter what keep your head up high and dont let anything bring you down. you girls deserve were your at and you try your best no matter what and thats all that counts. Still i was at Bonita but ill still root for you guys even vs Glendora. GO BEARCATS SOFTBALL !!!!!! GO ALYSSA CANCHOLA and the rest of the team.

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