News Release
  January 21, 2003


Women’s softball makes its debut at Los Angeles Mission College when the team led by coach Kelly Lovato plays its first game of the season against Mt. San Jacinto College on January 27.

The 3 p.m. game at El Cariso Park marks the start of a seven-game, non-conference schedule prior to the start of the Western State Conference season. The Eagles’ 24-game conference schedule begins on February 11 with a match-up against Cuesta College. Two additional non-conference games, as well as two non-conference tournaments, are on the Eagles’ schedule after the start of conference play.

Although Mission College attempted to introduce women’s softball early in its history, that effort failed. This season, in effect, is the inaugural year for women’s softball at the college, and Lovato faces a tough challenge in building a program from scratch. She said she’s using that as motivation for her players.

"At this point, we don’t have the numbers and traditions that other schools have," she said. "But I tell my players to be excited about being part of something new. They have a chance to build the program and set the college records."

The Eagles plan to build their season around three key players: pitcher Christie Sotelo; Samantha Dempsey, first base; and catcher Nicole Lepine. The three freshmen were all named to the Los Angeles Daily News’ all-star team last year.

Sotelo compiled a 12-4 record with an ERA of 2.72 while pitching for Alemany High School last year. Dempsey batted .351 and knocked in 15 RBIs for Crescenta Valley High School last year. Lepine hit three homers and 10 RBI’s for Canyon High School last year.

Lovato is the former varsity softball coach at Royal High School in Simi Valley. She has played softball professionally in Italy, where her earned run average was 0.63 and where she pitched a perfect game. She is joined on the bench by assistant coach Sandra Durazo, a former pitching standout at Kennedy High School (1994-97) and San Diego State University (1998-2001).

Mission College competes in the Western State Conference. The Eagles will play all of their home games at El Cariso Park, 13100 Hubbard St., Sylmar.

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