Catching up with an all-leaguer

By Andrea Camarena

Her move from rookie catcher to team leader with a .535 Batting average has earned Cortney Whitlock a spot on the East Sequoia's All League First Team roster.

Whitlock is a seasoned veteran of the game and was on a softball diamond before her birth.

&#8220I've been playing since I could walk and my mom even played while she was pregnant with me. It's a big family thing.”

Both of Whitlock's parents competed in co-ed softball and her brother, Beau, earned a top spot on the Monarchs' Baseball roster in his senior season last year.

Now Whitlock is keeping in step with the family, improving her game and vying for high honors in the league, in only her sophomore season.

Her success at her current position behind the plate is more impressive considering she had her first catching season last year.

Before that, Whitlock was usually the one pitching the ball.

&#8220I always loved pitching but I really like catching,” Whitlock said. &#8220Last year was the first time I played catcher. The team needed a backup catcher so I volunteered and worked my way up to starter.”

While her big improvement came on the field in her freshman year, this past season, Whitlock's bat came around for a tremendous hitting performance.

&#8220Last year, I could not hit. This year my batting really came around,” Whitlock said.

She was one of the team's leading sluggers this season earning a .535 batting average in league play and .483 overall. It's a welcomed improvement after batting in the .100s last season. The season started off a bit shaky for her, but at the start of league, Whitlock blasted a triple into deep right field against Orosi in one of their early league games. It was the catalyst for the lead off, lefty batter to put the ball deep for the remainder of the season.

The improvement at the plate remains a mystery to Whitlock herself who claims, &#8220I wasn't doing anything I haven't done before. It just happened.”

Perhaps it can be owed to natural ability. For Whitlock, the game is instilled in her.

&#8220I love everything about softball. I always complain about it but I just love it. I couldn't live without it.”

As a constantly improving athlete, Whitlock's focus is for overall improvement.

&#8220I'm really working on my batting, my bunting and picking up speed around the bases.”

She has two more varsity seasons left in her and she is a multiple sport athlete who keeps busy all year long.

She spent last summer playing for Fresno's club team Central Valley Crush. She also competes in Exeter basketball in the fall sports season.

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