Emily Mestas is a smart girl, as her 4.1 grade point average, three advanced placement classes and academic scholarship to an eastern university suggest.
But it was that gray matter between her ears that bedeviled her.
Self-doubts haunted her on the softball diamond as she played for San Gorgonio High and various travel ball teams.
This season, under coach Roy Ditto, Mestas is letting the misplays and bad at-bats go.
“I’ve had more confidence and I’m doing better,” she said. “I used to get super down when I’d mess up, but playing for Ditto, I’ve recognized that and just let go.”
The Spartan second baseman/pitcher has also received moral support from her niece, Jamie Mainez, a former player at Redlands High and American International College in Springfield, Mass.
“She just saw the struggle I was having and helped me with my mindset,” Mestas said. “I was over thinking.”
The transformation has produced a .538 batting average for Mestas so far this season, with four runs batted in and two triples. She also has seven stolen bases and a 1.34 earned run average in the pitcher’s circle.
Coincidentally, Mestas will head for the same state (Massachusetts) as her niece to play in college when she enrolls at Lasell University in Newton. Lasell is a private university of 4,900 students founded in 1851 that is located eight miles west of downtown Boston.
“I’m very excited about it,” Mestas said. “It’s been a dream of mine since I started to play softball. It’s going to be a new experience and it will expand my interests.”
The 18-year-old is already well rounded. She lifts weights and wakeboards and enjoys trekking with her family to the Colorado River.
Mestas’ father, Frank, put a ball in her hands when she was little and has nurtured her on the diamond. He played football and baseball at San Bernardino High and competed in fast pitch softball for 40 years. Her mom, Karin, was on the drill team at San Gorgonio High and has also encouraged her.
“She’s always been determined, and it’s been her dream since she was little to get a scholarship,” Karin said. “Her entire life she’s worked toward it and she met it.”
No surprise, as the Spartan star has always been a climber, dating back to when she was an infant, crawling on the furniture more than her parents desired.
“When she was about 2 years old, we were having a family get-together and she was in her room and she climbed on top of a dresser and sent the TV crashing down on the floor,” Karin said. “All we heard was this little voice saying, ‘I’m OK.’”
These days Mestas has less risky goals, as she shoots for a winning softball season, a lofty batting average and to become a teacher. She will major in elementary education at Lasell.