On-campus construction and inclement weather has already wreaked havoc on the Millikan softball season. The field at Millikan will be unusable for at least a year, so the Rams will use the El Dorado Park fields for home games this season. The heavy rains also have pushed them inside to Diane Lewis School of Softball in Signal Hill.
“We’re just doing the best we can right now,” Millikan coach Akemi Fleming said. “The hardest thing is putting it all together on the field after practicing in the facility for so long. We haven’t been on on the field enough to get them to trust each other, especially on defense.”
Fleming did say that the extensive work in the batting cages has made this team more powerful and consistent at the plate. Senior shortstop Maya DeSota will be the key to the lineup in the three hole after leading Millikan with 38 hits and 16 RBIs last season.
In the circle, Fleming has three quality arms in senior Gretchen Goldsmith, senior Rachel Rubio and sophomore Grace Fleming. Goldsmith is emerging as the ace, and sophomore Lily Romero will be back behind the plate catching after a breakout freshman campaign.
Millikan is young but experienced on the corners with junior Anissa Ramos back at third base after a breakout sophomore season during which she hit .340 with 10 runs scored. Junior first baseman Vivian Rodriguez hit .459 with 14 runs scored. Right fielder Jasmin Fernandez
Fleming said she hopes her three signed players Rubio, DeSota and Goldsmith can keep underclassman like Alyssa Estrada, Maya Ledesma, Brenna Brown and Kara Bresnahan accountable, and vice versa.
“The (signed seniors) know how to be leaders, but at the same time it’s good for them to have the younger players look up to them,” Fleming said. “It helps them. There’s times Rachel won’t be pitching, and it’s important for those girls to watch Rachel cheer on her team from the dugout, be the supporting pitcher and still be in the game. They’re learning off of each other.”
Fleming also said she wants her players who beat Lakewood last season for the first time in five years to crave those types of memories.
“I always tell the girls to leave all of the B.S. off the field and play the way they know how to play,” she said. “The feeling that they got from beating Lakewood is something those girls will never forget. Giving them that type of memory for me as a coach makes it all worth it.”