An interview with the best of Athenas Softball

In his Forum debut, Ari Zyskind sat down with two Athenas softball players to get their perspective on the season, sports at CMC, and their teammates...

Erika Weingart CMC ’09 and Julia Cruz SC ’10 have pitched the CMS softball team to a stellar 22-8 overall and an 11-5 SCIAC (2nd) record heading into the weekend. Coach Betsy Hipple says that Erika's performance puts her “in a league of her own,” with Erika pitching four consecutive wins in her last four starts. Julia boasts an impressive 1.03 Earned Run Average, which lands her at the #19 spot for best ERA in NCAA Division III. 

What is your best Athenas softball memory?

Erika Weingart: My favorite Athena softball memory (that I can state publicly...) would have to be our team van rides to away games, especially last year with Landis driving. I did not know until those trips that you could make a van veer dangerously on the freeway from too many people dancing in their seats... G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S! (my walkout song and fave van dancing jam).

Julia Cruz: My Freshman year we played at LaVerne. We had won the first game with our Senior pitching and I started the second game. It ended up going 11 innings until we finally won. I just remember, first of all, being amazed that Coach had had faith in me to finish all 11 innings, but also so incredibly excited that we had swept. It was one of the most satisfying wins I've been a part of. However, I'm still waiting for that dog pile on the mound when we win the SCIAC tournament/Regionals/Nationals!

erika weingart

What is it like playing under Coach Hipple?

EW: Coach is great. She is super intense, but in a good way. You will not find another coach who is more committed to a team and program than coach Hipple. I totally respect that, and so does the team. She pushes us in the right direction, and all that cardio has perks of its own... we are in great shape.

How do you handle the pressures of pitching, knowing that the team is counting on you? JC: Personally, I love it. I love being in control of the game, setting the pace, and going head to head with every batter. It would be hard for me to play any other position.

Give three words that describe your pitching style:

EW: Hard, intense, and loud (only because I yell every time I throw the ball). JC: Focused, dedicated, and (hopefully) dominating.

What are your plans for next year?

EW: Next year (June, actually) I will be starting a masters of education program at CGU. I am going to be a high school English teacher; I will be in my own classroom come next September, and simultaneously take classes working towards my masters.

Who is your favorite current teammate?

EW: Jess Vaughn, the “Stud Masta Flex in the flesh.” Jess is awesome, in fact if you ask her she would tell you, "My God, I'm amazing." And it's true. Pretty freakin’ awesome. Basically I'm in love with her.

JC: I'm going to go with the obvious-- Jess Vaughn. She is what our Coach would call a "Steady Eddy" and she completely exemplifies what a leader should be.

Who is your favorite team to play against?

EW: Hmm... this is a tough one... I am looking forward to seeing Redlands again in the tournament at the end of the season. The first time I threw against Redlands this season I got lit up like a Christmas tree. Not my finest outing. The second time I faced them, I held them to five hits. Next time around I want to shut them down. So that would have to be my favorite team to play this season.

JC: It has to be a tie between Redlands and LaVerne. Redlands always provides us with the best competition but LaVerne gives us a good grudge match.

Do you have any superstitions or pre-game rituals?

EW: I am very superstitious dash bordering on obsessive compulsive. I'm territorial: my bag has to be in the same place, I have to stand in the same place for pregamjulia cruze announcements, etc. etc. I don't do well with change. I broke a shoe lace the second week of the season so it's only a little stub and very difficult to tie, but I can't change it out.

JC: The night before every game I have to watch a movie with some epic battles to prepare for my enemies... I also have to listen to some Queen songs right before the game-- Don't Stop Me Now and Another One Bites the Dust.

Something people don’t know about you: EW: I know every Nate Dogg song ever made. Hands down my favorite rapper... So freakin sexy. JC: I can hit! My teammates seem to think that pitchers can't hit and are always surprised when I can. I can also hit left-handed... Trying to break some stereotypes.

If you had to date one teammate who would it be? EW: Aside from Jess Vaughn?! Hmmm.. gotta say Katerina Yale only because I hope she reads this and gets really awkward. That catching crouch... mmm... so sexy Kat. JC: I have to say Kat Yale. We have a special pitcher-catcher bond that I don't think other people really get. Haha.

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The Athenas, who are two games behind Redlands for first place, will host the University of La Verne (3rd in SCIAC) in a double header (2pm and 4pm) on Saturday and Cal Lutheran (4th in SCIAC) in a double header (12pm and 2pm) on Sunday. The weekend will be filled with action and determine the regular season SCIAC standings, as well as the seeding for the four team SCIAC Championship tournament. Cheer on the team and check back after the games for a recap of the weekend!