Eltsosie, Volcano Vista aim at undefeated season
By Quentin Jodie
ALBUQUERQUE, May 10, 2012
W ith a batting average of .500, Katera Eltsosie is pretty good when it comes to being disciplined at the plate.
She is just as serious about her song selection when she strolls up to the batter's box. Every time the Volcano Vista senior steps up to the plate at a home game, part of the song "Dangerous" is cued up for 12 seconds.
"I tried to get the most inspiring song," Eltsosie said on why she chose the lyrics "She so dangerous, dangerous ..." from the band the Ying Yang Twins.
"That song makes me want to hit the ball hard," she said.
Through 25 games this season that is exactly what she's been doing.
In fact she is the second leading hitter for the Lady Hawks, a team that is batting a mindboggling .428 entering the second round of the Class 5A state softball tournament.
Eltsosie, who is headed to Lubbock Christian University next year on a softball scholarship, leads the team with 11 homers and has batted in 48 runs.
But her biggest contribution, according to her coach, Cheryl Johnson, is what she does on defense.
As one of the team's ace pitchers, Eltsosie (13-0) has an earned run average of 1.49. In 80 innings of work, she has struck out 120 batters and walked 25 for a 4:8 (strikeout-to-walk) ratio.
"Katera is coaches' dream," Johnson said. "She is one of the best athletes I've ever coached. You know you can have a really good pitcher or a really good hitter or a really good catcher, but she has all of it."
Eltsosie's ERA is slightly better than fellow senior Kelsey Stevens, who pitched the top-ranked Hawks to a 10-0 first round victory over No. 16 seed Las Cruces Onate last Friday afternoon.
Stevens is Volcano Vista's other ace pitcher and in 11 games this season her ERA stands at 1.54 with 120 strikeouts.
Because of those numbers the Lady Hawks are the overwhelming favorites to repeat as state champions.
"All season long all the other schools have talked about our pitchers," Johnson said. "They've talked about Katera and Kelsey and how good they are. And, yes, we do have two great pitchers, but I think we have a great defense and we have some great hitters.
"Katera Eltsosie is the center of all that," Johnson added. "She is a great pitcher and she is one of the top ones in the state."
And when she's not pitching, Eltsosie can be found playing third base, a position that Johnson says is her best lineup.
"I think I have the best defense when I have Kelsey Stevens pitching and Katera at third base," Johnson said.
Stevens couldn't agree more.
"No matter how good you pitch, a team still needs good infielders," Stevens said. "They are the ones that are going to get on the ball and Katera is one of those fielders that gets everything."
Her defensive prowess was on full display against Onate as she pounced at every ball that came her way. All told, Eltsosie was credited with four outs including a gutsy play where she made a diving save in the first inning.
"Her defense was phenomenal," her coach said, while adding that the entire team played well.
"The kids did a good job, we didn't make any errors," Johnson said. "We hit three homeruns and we got kids in scoring position. And you know they were on task and focused on the game."
Heading into the final week, Johnson said she's hoping that her team will be ready since they have that proverbial target on their back.
"We would like to win all our games, but it's tough when people are coming after you," she said. "It's good and bad, but for me I always like to be the underdog because it's more fun."
Nonetheless, Eltsosie and her teammates are relishing the fact that they could be the first Volcano Vista team to go unbeaten for the entire year.
"We've really worked hard at it," she said of their 25-0 record. "We've played to the highest level and we're all shooting for another state title, but we're taking it one game at a time."