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Millikan Softball

Millikan Softball Celebrates Signing Day For Six Seniors

The562’s high school softball coverage for the 2023 season is sponsored by Long Beach City Councilwoman Megan Kerr.

The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.

It’s certainly an understatement to say Millikan softball’s Class of 2023 has been through a lot over the last four years.

They lost their freshman season to COVID, won a Moore League title in upset fashion as sophomores, lost their head coach, got a new head coach and then reached a CIF championship game last year for the first time since 2005.

On Wednesday, coach Michelle Lehr and some parents organized a signing day celebration for seniors Victoria Byrum (Eastern Kentucky University), Morgan Fontela (University of La Verne), Arianna Ramirez (Southern Utah University), Madison “Shorty” Wright (Arkansas Tech University), Erica Estrada (Long Beach State) and Natalie Lopez (University of Redlands) in the Howard Lyon Gymnasium at Millikan.

“Almost all of these girls have been on Varsity for four years,” coach Lehr said. “They’ve played together for a really long time, and it represents the amount of talent depth we have here. Of the seniors who were actively looking to go to college, we’ve got nine of them, and  to have six commits out of the nine is just awesome. They’re a really good group of girls who support and encourage each other.”

“We’ve been through a lot,” said Ramirez. “I’m really proud.”


Ramirez, who was the Co-Moore League MVP last year at third base, found Southern Utah when as a sophomore she was told about a summer camp there.

“The vibes were so good and I already felt like there was a connection,” Ramirez said. “And the fact that they wanted me was my number one.”

Estrada, a three-time All-Moore League outfielder, is obviously the player staying closest at Long Beach State where she’ll play for Kim Sowder.

“I wanted to stay local within Southern California or Arizona so it wasn’t too big a drive for my family to come out, and Long Beach State was honestly the best pick for me,” Estrada said. “(Coach Sowder) had been watching me for awhile and when I visited the campus it felt like home, and I know it’s already home, but it just made sense to go there. Sowder was so nice, welcoming and family oriented.”

Wright, an All-League infielder, actually was't sure when she met Arkansas Tech coach Jordan Jones. 

“At first I was scared to go far (from home) but it’s a once in a lifetime chance so I’m going to take it,” Wright said. “I’m excited.”

Byrum, an All-League pitcher, is also excited about going far from home at Eastern Kentucky.

“The distance has never scared me because I know I can be independent while far away,” she said. “The coaching staff really stuck out, and I have a cousin who is going to the same school and my family is from Ohio.”

“I’m just so proud of everyone, but I knew the talent we had so I’m just glad we can get to our goals,” Wright added after the ceremony where the seniors got to take pitchers with friends and family around personalized tables.

“This isn’t surprising that so many of us are signing,” Wright said.

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.