By Chelsea Underwood [Staff Writer]
Senior softball player Felicia Cervantes will always remember the great influence her family and high school coach had in helping her develop into the talented player she has become in her four years as a Coyote.
Cervantes started playing softball when she was six years old and wanted to attend her brothers’ practices and games every chance she got.
Her uncle noticed the passion that she had for softball and taught her the fundamentals of the game. He spent time with her in their garage, practicing hitting off a tee.
He worked with her day in and day out and together they practiced to develop her complete game. “He was always there from the mental aspect to the physical aspect of the game,” said Cervantes. “He taught me everything.”
Her uncle laid out the path for her to become a great athlete, but her grandparents were the ones that influenced her to keep growing and working hard on her game.
According to Cervantes, her grandparents are her biggest supporters and the reason why she did not give up. “I didn’t give up on the sport because that is what [my grandparents] enjoyed. I felt like playing softball and going up north, it brings my family together,” said Cervantes “I feel like that’s what they look forward to—seeing me play.”
Even though they live 400 miles away in Stockton, Calif., they are still supporting and influencing her in everything she does.
Cervantes excelled in the sport throughout her childhood, and when she got to high school she met who would turn out to be her head softball coach Janelle Bauer.
Bauer coached her all four years at Western Ranch High School and was one of her biggest influences when it came to pursuing softball upon graduation.
They became closer through the years, and when times got tough, Bauer was there to console and guide her. Cervantes’ family went through a difficult time during her high school years when her parents got divorced and she ended up living with her grandparents, who would prove to be monumental to her success.
Bauer played an important role in Cervantes’ life during this time. “Coach Bauer kind of took me under her wing,” said Cervantes. “The only reason why I’m here is because of her.”
Bauer was like a mother figure to her during high school and discussed with her the possibility of attending and participating in a college softball program, specifically CSUSB’s.
She took Bauer’s advice to check out the school on a recruiting trip and, as it turned out, she clicked with the players and enjoyed her time there.
Cervantes decided to join the Coyotes’ softball program and before her second year of playing, she was offered a scholarship.
Having the opportunity to play softball was not the only thing that brought her attention to CSUSB. The school’s ROTC program for the Air Force provided the foundation for her desire to become an officer in the U.S. Air Force.
She majored in biology her first three years and then switched to kinesiology this year to prepare for that next step. Cervantes has professors who have been helping her succeed in her courses, which has helped prepare her to take that walk across the stage and get her degree.
With all of the help and support she has received over the years from family, friends and coaches, Cervantes has been able to grow and blossom into an outstanding softball player, student and most importantly, person.
Cervantes’ mental and physical strength will surely prove to be monumental in her career and life on and off the field.