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Wildfires’ senior shines bright

Nevares doing a little bit of everything as Wildfires aim for their first league crown
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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FORESTHILL — There’s plenty to contrast with the quiet demeanor and unassuming attitude of Corinne Nevares on the Foresthill High softball field. It starts with the violent twirling of her right arm and a zinging fastball that reaches nearly 60 mph. She swings a mean bat in the heart of the Wildfires’ lineup and her coach is a longtime baseball coach who barks out encouragement with a distinct accent left over from his childhood in The Bronx, New York. Nevares was a part of the Wildfires’ inaugural varsity softball team as a freshman. Foresthill’s program has steadily risen to the level that this year there is buzz about a league title and a playoff berth. Coach George Fitzinger raves about everything Nevares contributes to the team, which has raced out to a 5-1-2 record. “I can’t come up with enough superlatives to describer her,” said Fitzinger, who coached the Wildfires’ baseball team to its first playoff berth in 2007. “I think it’s unfortunate that she’s pitching on the Hill because she’s not getting the attention she deserves. There isn’t anything she can’t do on a softball field.” Nevares and the Wildfires may soon be getting plenty of attention. They knocked off Central Valley Christian League favorite Forest Lake Christian earlier this month when Nevares doubled home the game-winning run, not to mention the 17 batters she struck out. “That was awesome because that was the only team (in the CVCL) we couldn’t beat last year,” Nevares said. “We came back with a whole new team and beat them by one run.” A showdown with undefeated Vacaville Christian is slated for Friday. Foresthill spanked Faith Christian 21-0 last week, which brought back memories of when the Wildfires were on the other side of the spectrum. They had losing records under two different coaches in Nevares’ first two seasons. Fitzinger lost nine seniors off of last year’s team and wasn’t expecting a big 2010. Youngsters like sophomore catcher Caitlin McCann, freshman outfielder Sadie Stroup and sophomore shortstop Nicole Nevares — Corinne’s sister — have changed that in a hurry. “You look in their eyes and you can really tell, somebody’s home,” Fitzinger said. “They really listen.” With her business-like attitude on the field, Nevares is inspiring her teammates to make the most of their opportunity this season. “The girls are really willing to learn and they’re giving 100 percent all the time,” the senior said. Nevares’ father Rey is an assistant coach for the team, enjoying his oldest daughter’s 10th year playing softball. After struggling with tendonitis for parts of last season, Nevares said she’s fully healthy, and it shows. Nevares had 40 strikeouts through her first six games and just one walk. Her ERA was 0.72. She’s mixed in a devastating changeup that often makes unsuspecting batters look foolish. “I throw it about 35 mph,” Nevares said of her changeup. “I just learned it two years ago, but it took me about a year to perfect it.” At the plate, Nevares bats cleanup and is hitting .435 with four doubles. Nevares is hoping to play softball in college, which would be a first for a Foresthill High girls athlete. But her focus for the rest of the spring is leading the Wildfires into uncharted territory. “A league title would be a dream come true,” she said. “I think this is the year we can put another banner up in the gym,” Fitzinger added. “That would be really sweet.”