Rio Hondo’s Bianca Cruz proof that hard work pays off

RIO HONDO — Don’t be fooled by the small stature of Bianca Cruz. When she takes the field, the junior can play softball.

Cruz has about every tool a coach can ask for. Last season, she was named the district’s Offensive Player of the Year and this season she has picked up right where she left off. She is batting .650 with 52 hits and 52 RBIs this season.

Q: How does it feel to win your first bi-district title as a junior?

A: Winning my first bi-district title is an amazing feeling. It shows that all our hard work and dedication is paying off.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge on the field so far?

A: Adjusting to each situational pitch when I’m in the batter’s box.

Q: Last season you were named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year and this year you have stepped it up a level. What were some things you worked on in the offseason?

A: During the offseason I worked on my speed. I wanted to be able to steal more bases. I also spent endless hours in the batting cage to gain power in my swing.

Q: When did you realize this year’s team had something special?

A: The majority of the players and I have played together since we were young. We realized that with five seniors on the team this would be our last year all together.

Q: Who is your favorite college softball team/player and why?

A: My favorite team is Auburn because they play with high intensity and speed. I love to watch them on TV. I also love to watch the Women’s College World Series and I think Oklahoma will take it again this season.

Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?

A: I sing along when they play the National Anthem and I do the sign of the cross afterward because, after all, all the glory goes to Him. I also wear my teammate’s (Alexa Castellanos) visor every game.

Q: What has been your best moment while playing softball at Rio Hondo?

A: The best moment playing here was making the varsity team as a freshman and hitting a homerun the first game I played.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone in history who would it be and why?

A: I would want to have dinner with Cat Osterman from UT-Austin/USSSA Pride. I met her at the World Series in Florida at the age of 10 and after watching her play she inspired me to stay humble and work hard.

Q: Do you play any other sports or has softball always been your first love?

A: I play volleyball and run track, but softball has always been my passion.