La Verne Girls Now On a Mission to New Mexico

July 21, 2010
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Brittany Griffin has a smile that stretches from La Verne to Las Cruces.

Brittany Griffin has a smile that stretches from La Verne to Las Cruces.

“Can you believe it, girls, we’re going to Nationals,” exclaimed manger Steve Carrillo, manager of the 12U La Verne Girls Softball Association All Star team which will play in Las Cruces, New Mexico, August 2-8. “You’re going to play against girls who have never even been to California. This is exciting stuff.”

That was the good news. Then the affable coach delivered a dose of reality.

“You got there because you worked your tails off, so we’re not going to change a thing,” he said. Then he called out a couple of the girls who came to practice in shorts, an honest mistake considering the temperature was still hovering around 100 degrees at 6 p.m. at Wheeler Park in La Verne.

“I want everybody in full gear, no more shorts, you have to practice like you’re going to play in the game,” he added. “You girls aren’t cheerleaders; you’re softball players. We’re going to New Mexico to represent. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves.”

There’s little chance of that happening. Carrillo and his staff have been working with many of the girls since 2007. Under their watch, they’ve blossomed into one of the top 12U teams in California (They finished third in the recent state championships in Lancaster, Calif.), and he believes they’re now ready to show their stuff on the national stage.

To Hailey Long's resume, add the title "road warrior."

To Hailey Long's resume, add the title "road warrior."

In fact, Carrillo’s job may not be as tough as that of team moms Lori Gatlin and Ann-Marie Carpenter, who have been charged with helping wrestle up the funds to get the team to New Mexico and put them up in hotels for a week. Since the girls accepted their invitation to join other elite teams from the nation’s they’ve been brainstorming a number of fundraising ideas.

Tonight and next Monday night, Red Devil Pizza will donate 20% of any customer’s bill when the patron mentions LVGSA at the time of order. On July 24, the team will host a poker party (must be 21 to play). A car wash and a cash-for-gold party also are being planned.

While the team is doing its part, it also needs the dimes and dollars of the community to support its efforts. Anyone interested can contact either Anna-Marie Carpenter (909.239.8024) or Manager Steve Carrillo (951.212.8158) to obtain a team sponsorship form

More important than the girls’ impressive record over the last several seasons is the experience the girls are gaining, not to mention the acclaim they are winning for La Verne.

The girls have been practicing at game-like speed.

The girls have been practicing at game-like speed.

In the past, people always asked “Where’s La Verne?” Carpenter said. “Now when we show up at touurnaments, we hear, “There’s La Verne.”

Helping put La Verne on the map is Brittany Griffin, the team’s lead-off hitter. “I want to play Hawaii because I hear they have really big players,” she said, in between shagging fly balls. “I want to play against the best.”

Pitcher Hailey Long said she’s never anticipated a tournament so much. “I’ve never had the experience to go this far,” she said. “I’ve just learned so much from being around everybody on the team, especially Chelsea Carpenter. She showed me how to be calm and keep a smile on my face even when bad things happen.”

Wow! Players mentoring other players. That’s the kind of team we all need to be on. It is certainly a team that deserves the entire community’s support.

“We’re a team that sits together, eats together, plays together, and wins together,” added team mom Carpenter.

Across the diamond, the girls are ready.

Across the diamond, the girls are ready.

So, try to by Red Devil tonight to wish the girls good luck and order a couple of slices. It’s all for a good cause!

For a great real estate team, call the leader, call Century 21 Marty Rodriguez, proud supporter of La Verne Online and home ownership everywhere!



Coach, I dare you to hit one past me!

Coach, I dare you to hit one past me!

One Response to “La Verne Girls Now On a Mission to New Mexico”

  1. Hi PB
    Wow!! You brought tears to my eyes… thanks to you for all your support this year. Love that you have helped us put Girls softball on the map. We will do you all proud, cause that is how we roll.


    ps: PB wish we could take you to NM, image the buzz if we showed up with out own LVGSA reporter in charge of PR. Love it!!!

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