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Cheerleader trades pompoms for bat

As flowers begin to bloom and the winter rains cease, seniors everywhere are dedicating themselves in hopes of a successful spring season.

Rachel Balint, ’08, is one such aspirant who finds herself back in the game, as she reclaims her position on the softball diamond that she fell in love with seven years ago.

?My family has always been a baseball family,? Balint said. ?My dad used to be on a softball team in college and my brother was in Babe Ruth for four years, so I decided to try it in fifth grade and I loved it.?

Now a determined senior, Balint?s decision to hand in her cheer uniform in exchange for some time on the diamond?s middle infield came after a rekindled love for the game.

?I wanted to do something my senior year since I had already been a cheerleader my junior year,? Balint said. ?The best thing about the sport is the teammates, and we all get along really well.?

Coach Michelle Wright cannot help but notice the affable qualities Balint displays on the field, as her personality conjures a sense of teamwork amongst her peers.

?She has a great personality,? Wright said. ?As a player, you have to be able to relate to your teammates and work hard and Rachel does a great job at both and is a great player to have on the team.?

Like most players, Balint?s experiences on the field consist of a desire to prevail when the pressures on, and occasionally, a hint of embarrassment.

?I would have to say the time at practice when I tripped for no reason,? Balint said. ?Afterwards we did dive-backs and as I was sliding to third base, my gum went flying out. It was pretty funny.?

After completing a year on the junior varsity cheer squad, Balint seems to know the power of motivation and feels inspired by her coach to compete.

?I think coach Wright has been motivating me the most,? Balint said. ?She is so encouraging and a great coach and has really taught me so much this season thus far. Also, playing softball helps me to be more motivated with my grades, so I can keep them from getting too low.?

For Balint, persistence remains a major contributor in her work, as noted by coach Wright after Balint proved that there?s no limit to a competitor?s ability to compete.

?The team had just finished helping at a dog agility show, and as a joke, she decided to go through the dog tunnels and run the course,? Wright said. ?She?s a very persistent player; if she doesn?t get a ball the first time, she keeps on going until she does.?

When not on the green grass of the diamond, Balint hones her skills at the diligent crafts on the water and asphalt, as she takes to her other passion for riding the longboard and the skateboard.

?I really enjoy longboarding, skateboarding and coasting down in Woodward Park,? Balint said. ?I just like coasting; I don?t do any tricks or anything like that, I just like to coast along.?

Faced with option of mingling amongst the diversified student populous of Clovis West, Balint opted for the more personal qualities offered by a private Christian school her freshman year.

?I was the one, not my parents, who wanted to come to this school,? Balint said. ?I didn?t really want to go to Clovis West because it was just too big with too many people. It was a good transition in the end.?

Four years after her initial introduction to the qualities of a small-campus, Balint appears to feel right at home, often going out with her friends on the weekend in search of a good time.

?I usually just hang-out with my friends on the weekends,? Balint said. ?We often go to the movies, just the girls’ night-out and get all dressed up and have some fun.?

Like so many other seniors about to embark on the morning of their careers, Balint has hopes to open her own business after receiving her degree from California State University, Fresno.

?Well, I plan to do YWAM this July through November,? Balint said. ?I think I?ll start college my second semester at Fresno State and open my own skate or surf shop after receiving my business degree.?

The team won their first non-league game against University High, 11-3, March 11. The Eagles will next host Strathmore High, March 13. For more information, check out the Softball sport shorts, 2008.

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  • C

    Co FranzFeb 5, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Cass & Sam…. I like Gouda… haha good times.

  • C

    Cassidy HutchinsFeb 5, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Haha….I like gouda…lol. Courtney this is great =)