The Imperial Valley has established itself as a community that produces exceptional softball talent, and the 2012 softball season was no exception.
One of the main factors of the consistent production of stellar softball players in the Valley is the emergence of year round club softball.
While both Flores and Davis possessed the talent to play at the Division I level, playing in the Valley limited their exposure to college coaches. What club ball afforded both ladies was national exposure to college recruiters by playing at show case tournaments.
While Flores dominated the IVL being recognized as three-time Imperial Valley League Player of the Year from 2004 to 2006, it was her participation on a travel ball team from Phoenix that earned her a college scholarship to Okalahoma where she would become a three-time All-American.
Davis was a four year letterman for the Tigers earning the San Diego CIF Division 4 Player of the Year award in 2006 and was also IVL Player of the Year in 2007.
Even with this impressive resume, it took Davis traveling to San Diego to play for the highly respected Breakers club softball team before she caught the eye of Brigham Young University, where she earned a scholarship. In 2011 Davis was named team MVP and earned ALL Mountain West First Team honors.
These stories of Flores and Davis have not been lost on local softball players with many of the Valley’s best softball talent playing on local club teams. Many of the girls even travel to San Diego to play for highly respected club teams looking to be recruited by college coaches attending the big show case games.
There are currently several local club teams that play year round, but the amount of teams has diluted the talent pool. The Diamond Runners, Eclipse, Wicked, Venom, and Illusion are all local softball club teams that compete for local talent.
When these teams attend the prestigious show case games they are relegated to the back fields with limited exposure to college recruiters.
With all the exceptional talent in the Valley, why not create a united club team to showcase the best the Valley has to offer. Could you imagine how good a team could be with the best softball talent in the Valley all playing on one team?
How about a line-up featuring returning high school All-Imperial Valley Press softball team recipients Janelle Sandoval, Cheyenne Robinson, Valerie Torres, Hannah Rodriguez, Sandra Rosiles, Andrea Sotelo and Kaitlin Williams; plus the pitching of Maci Lerno and Ashley Caro on the rubber to face the opposition.
This would end the need for local girls to travel to San Diego to practice and play for the so-called elite club teams. As the “Imperial Valley Dream Team” won games they would become recognized and earn games on the top fields being scouted by college coaches.
A Dream Team club ball organization of 18 and under, 16 and under, a 14 and under could be created in the Valley. A coalition of high school softball coaches would run the club ball organization to insure impartiality when selecting the teams and starting line-ups.
The Dream Team would create camaraderie among the local softball players but most importantly give them the exposure needed to advance to the college level.