Bailon Enjoying Cypress by Happy Accident
Michele Bailon is enjoying herself playing softball at Cypress College. But that’s hardly the outlook she started with in the fall of 1996.
Bailon came to the Chargers after four seasons on the varsity at Santa Fe Springs St. Paul High, but playing at a community college wasn’t even on her mind.
Bailon had been an outstanding shortstop in high school, was the most valuable player of her league once and won several other honors, all of which should have added up to a Division I scholarship.
Bailon was recruited by Marshall and had strong enough grades but that path was blocked by her SAT score, which was too low.
She enrolled at Cypress, two weeks after classes had started.
“At first, I was disappointed,” Bailon said, “but I’m fine with it now. I’m always hard on myself. I just didn’t want to be set back for two years.”
Now, after nearly 1 1/2 seasons of consistently outstanding play, she is again drawing the attention of recruiters. Marshall is eyeing her again and Southwestern Louisiana also has expressed interest.
“She’s one of those players that just slipped through the cracks coming out of high school,” Cypress Coach Brad Pickler said as far as being widely recruited. “But she’s starting to get some interest, people are starting to know about her.”
When Bailon arrived at Cypress, she was moved to third base because sophomore Aimee Weathers, who has since moved on to Texas Tech, was already at shortstop.
But Bailon had an outstanding freshman year. She hit .442, drove in 58 runs and had 16 doubles, which tied the Cypress career mark. She also struck out only once in 199 at-bats.
Bailon was the conference’s co-most valuable player with Fullerton’s Deborah Hargrave. Cypress went 66-5 and won the state title.
Bailon started well this season too, but fell into a 0-for-15 slump, during which she continued to hit the ball well but at people. “Everybody goes through it,” she said. “I guess it was just my turn.”
Things have turned in her favor of late and she starts the week at .318 (34 of 107), with 33 runs scored and 13 RBIs. She has 10 doubles and four triples.
“I’m anxious to get a scholarship,” Bailon said, “I guess Brad would say that I’m impatient, but I see some of my teammates who have gone to universities and I think I should be there. I’m very hard on myself. I’m never satisfied.”