VALENCIA – A new experience leads to great accomplishments.
After playing centerfield her entire life including all four years at West Ranch High School, Bryanna De La Torre has found a new home at short stop for the College of the Canyons softball team.
De La Torre finished her senior season with eye popping numbers as she finished with a .422 batting average, .458 on base percentage, 17 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, and seven doubles. However those numbers weren’t good enough for a scholarship right out of high school so the West Ranch product did the next best thing, she joined the softball team at College of the Canyons who has won two consecutive Western State Conference championships under head coach John Wissmath.
When the freshman stepped on to the Whitten Field for the first time all signs pointed at her to be the starting center fielder on a team that lost all three outfielders from a year ago including starting center fielder Whitney Bruce. It was an obvious choice considering De La Torre had only committed one error a year ago and only two during her entire career for the Wild Cats. But after learning that three of his expected starting infielders wouldn’t be returning for their sophomore years, including All-American short stop Ruby Herrera and gold glove caliber fielder in Stephanie Pena, Wissmath had many wholes to fill on the dirt.
“There was absolutely no question that she was going to be my centerfielder,” said Wissmath. “We saw her playing some catch and gave her some ground balls and I said hey she didn’t look to bad over there taking some ground balls.”
After learning that the Lady Cougars would be short infielders and would need help filling those spots the freshman was willing to step into the big shoes left behind by Herrera. “He liked me at shortstop which was different for me because I played outfield my entire life,” said the West Ranch graduate. “Going in the infield was just scary, but I pulled it off and got a lot more confident.”
Not only has De La Torre excelled on the field playing a position she has never played before she has also picked up right where she left off her senior year in the batters box. The gritty freshman finished the 2011 season with a .450 batting average (fourth in conference), 39 runs scored (second in conference), 18 doubles (first in conference), and 28 stolen bases (first in conference).
“I just need her to get on because she just makes things happen,” said the third year coach. “She’s going to be moving on the base paths and it’s real nice to have her on board.”
The Lady Cougars finished the 2011 season with a 20-19 overall record while going 13-5 in conference good for third place just two games behind conference champion Bakersfield. COC will have all but one player eligible to return for their sophomore seasons in 2012 with sophomore Karissa Hartwig moving on to a four year school.