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Just less than a year ago this sports page wrote a detailed feature on one of La Joya’s greatest female athletes ever: softball all-star Clarissa Navarro. At the time, Navarro was coming off a prolific high school career full of district championships, MVP trophies and placements on the all-state team.
A year later, the success continues.
Navarro just completed her first year of college softball at Butler Community College in Kansas and, just as she did at La Joya, Navarro dominated. Clarissa led her team in stolen bases and batting average, in addition to being second in RBIs and third in homeruns. In fact, of all the non-pitching categories, Ms. Navarro was in the top three of all of them.
In short, Clarissa is again playing in a league in which she is above her competitor’s level.
So what is next for the former Coyote? If you recall, Navarro attended Butler out of loyalty to its Head Coach Doug Chance, who helped Navarro get exposed to bigger and better colleges. The original agreement was Clarissa would play one year for Chance and then move on to the University of Arkansas.
Playing for the Razorbacks will definitely be a tougher challenge for Navarro. Having said that, one believer of the shortstop’s skills is Razorback Head Coach Mike Larabee.
"She is one of the best defensive infielders I have ever seen,” said Larabee, as quoted by arkansasrazorbacks.com. “She can throw a baseball at 83 miles per hour. She has great instincts on the bases and loves to play the game."
Those words by Larabee are some serious words. Coaches usually don’t throw phrases around like “best . . . I have ever seen” lightly. Further, to throw the ball over 80 miles per hour is unheard of for women’s softball.
Navarro seems to be able to find success wherever she is placed. The success is not only for her as a player, but also the teams she plays for. At La Joya, the outstanding ball player played a major part in helping the team finish as district champions every year of her career. Further, last summer, Clarissa played on the USA Women’s Baseball team that finished third at the world championships. Then, while playing for Butler, Clarissa helped the team win 45 games while only losing 10 on their way to being named Jayhawk West Champions and Region VI Champions.
Considering that success, next year will be quite the challenge for the outstanding athlete. The Razorbacks finished a very long season at 13-39. The disappointing season included only winning once on the road and three at home. Thus, Navarro has her work cut out for her.
However, if the past is any indication, Navarro will dominate as usual and help her team along the way.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.