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Olea's big year on offense gets her Sun/Rotary POY honors
Sally Gastelo, Kofa
Alexis Evans, Cibola
Janell Orozco, Yuma Catholic
Brittney Ramos, Yuma High
Linda Ontiveros, Yuma High
Sarai Camacho, Kofa
Nikki Kelland, Gila Ridge
Kaitlyn Swain, Kofa
Amanda Hernandez, Cibola
Ashley Van Why, Gila Ridge
Kaelin Fox, Gila Ridge
Josie Quiroz, Yuma Catholic
Miranda Mendoza, Kofa
For the past eight years, Cibola softball coach Shelly Baumann has had an Olea penciled in somewhere on her lineup card. Next spring will be the first time in almost a decade that she won't have an Olea sister on her team.
Although it's the end of an era, Raider shortstop Bethany Olea made it a memorable ending as the Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary 2013 Softball Player of the Year.
After starting off 2013 with a home run in her first at-bat, Olea proceeded to have a monster offensive season, hitting at a clip of .622 from the three hole.
“She only struck out two times this year,” Baumann said. “She just rose to the occasion. She's always been a wonderful hitter, even her freshman year, but this year she went above anybody that we've experienced here at Cibola High School.”
Olea hit safely in 25 of Cibola's 28 games and recorded an extra base hit in 16 of them.
“Now that I'm older, I sort of know what my pitch is,” Olea said. “I try to look for anything that's above my waist when I go up to bat. Mainly I just try not to over think because when I overthink it, I'll get a ground out or a bad hit. I just try to relax.”
Olea isn't picky about how she gets hits either. According to Baumann, her spray charts are about as even as they come.
“Last year she could hit an outside pitch, but everyone knows who Bethany is now,” Baumann said. “You can't throw something down the middle. They're going to jam her inside, do something outside, so she needed to learn to hit to all areas of the field. She did an excellent job with it. It's amazing to see.”
Olea arrived at Cibola as a third baseman, but Baumann slid her over to shortstop, which traditionally is a much more vocal position.
“I'm very quiet,” Olea said. “So when I first came out, I didn't really say much. I would just say the outs and stuff. But my dad really helped me, Baumann really helped me to speak up.”
And speak up she did.
“That is what really changed this year,” Baumann said. “I was so happy by that. You can be a silent leader, she always was been, but this year she took that leadership role on the field and at practice and just kind of blossomed. I looked at her and was kind of like, ‘Who's that?'”
Everyone sees Olea's play on the field, but Baumann said there's so much more that people don't see. Whether it's diving all out in practice or stealing a base on a change-up, it was little things Olea did every day that made her a luxury for Baumann.
Olea is attending Arizona Western College in the fall.
“It's been amazing,” Olea said. “I couldn't imagine playing for any other school.”