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Irina Lainez taking on new beginnings

Irina Lainez is a senior at Palo Verde High who has officially signed with San Diego City College for softball on May 9th, 2024. Irina is an 18-year-old who will be remembered as a positive, outgoing, and cheerful team player. There’s a vast amount of young women who’ve been inspired by her, look up to her, and would also like to follow in her footsteps into her future collegiate softball career. 

Irina has been playing softball since the age of five, she started her softball career playing t-ball going to farm league, 2-3 years in minors, majors then senior league. A 4-year Varsity starter for softball, 2-year Varsity starter for Soccer, and on the Varsity cheer team for 2 years. Cesar Lainez (dad) is the motivation for her to begin this sport teaching her young, Irina says “I was his first child and since he didn’t have his little boy he still taught me all the sports (volleyball, soccer, and softball)”. Cesar Lainez is her motivation to keep her going and keep her playing, he pushes her to be the best and play to the best ability that he believes she can play. Irina smiles and says “I remember before every game when I was little my dad would always come out and hit me popups before the game, that was one thing I would struggle with a lot and it would make me happy seeing improvement. I still couldn’t catch it but one day I was finally able to do it and it made me happy to see that”.

Irina’s love for softball came from many people and positive experiences. Her love for this sport came from seeing herself build up and become stronger, She loved to see herself grow and see improvement on getting better every day. “Hard work pays off”. Her friends were also another inspiration that brought her love for the sport. The friends that you make in the making of the game are another main thing that keeps the motivation for softball. 

Irina committed to this college because she says she is fortunate enough to have some of Palo Verde’s previous players so she already knows what is expected and what she needs to know. She likes the benefits of the college such as the uniforms, the gear, and the support ect. Most of all she liked the support she got from San Diego City’s Coach AJ.

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Irina is looking forward to so many things and cannot wait to get started on the field. She looks forward to… getting stronger, building some mechanic skills, meeting new people, and getting to explore different experiences outside Blythe. Softball: She is looking forward to getting stronger both mentally and physically on the field, knowing when to help bring up the team while being down. She wants to be that person who can make everything positive and stay positive during negative situations.

She has set many goals for herself while being out in San Diego and is looking forward to getting a degree in college (school-wise). She doesn’t want to go to college just to go for softball she would like she show her accomplishments in school as well. In softball Irina wants to work on the mechanics/ the basics, learn how to play every position, new ways to bunt, learn how to play second base differently like to know what she has to do when she’s in the baseline how to set herself to get the out. Irina is looking forward to many things she is ready to ace college and get her goals done for herself.

Irina has been in-touch with SDCC Coach since last year’s softball season, so far from the conservatives she has had with him she enjoys how supportive he is. He knows how to play the game he knows what he’s doing and knows how to be a good coach and be there for his team when needed. Coach AJ has been in the military for 14 years, and he shows what is expected. He is very much involved with his team and tries to make them as close to a family as possible. 

Irina’s thoughts are to not expect too much, especially for her first year as long as she can get involved in baserunning or something being able to be in there as much as she can to show her commitment. Irina says “Bitter Sweet, I’m happy I’m going i just want to be involved. I’m happy I’m going to be the first generation in the family to go to college and do something big. It feels good to be that role model for the young ones in my family, I want to make them proud of something different I’m able to do for my family.” Irina is proud to make her family happy and for her young ones in the family she said “if I can do it, you can do it. Believe in yourself and things will come to you, I believe I’m gonna do this and it happens to me so always believe in yourself”.

Irina would like to give thanks to all of the people who supported her in the making of this accomplishment, Most importantly her family for the support and for always sticking by her side through the good and bad. She is grateful for her softball friends for pushing her through her slumps and bringing her up, when she wanted to quit when it got hard, when she felt unmotivated, not good enough, and drained her friends pushed her to stay through it because it all gets better in the end. She wouldn’t be able to know how to communicate to work as a team without her teammates as a team leader. She wouldn’t be herself without her friends or softball, Softball makes her happy especially when she’s doing well; hitting the ball and playing to the level she knows she can play.

It makes Irina happy to show her family that she can do it, It makes her feel good giving them hope and the ability to believe in themselves because it gets to you mentally but it’s all about resilience and strength that keeps you going because in her words she says “there’s always a light at the end of the time.”

She would like to give thanks to her past coaches. Coach Juan Gomez, Coach Jill Madsen, Coach Rick and Royce Copple, and lastly Coach Ricardo (Rica) and Alberto Lee (Solo). All these coaches gave Irina the motivation and strength to keep going and be the best that they know she can be. Irina says “These coaches have shaped me into the student-athlete that I am today, without them and my dad I wouldn’t be the student-athlete that I am today, how to be strong to fight for myself, how to be positive in negative situations, the game of softball/soccer, they also made me a better person”.


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