The Estancia High softball program honored one of its greats on Thursday, retiring Leah Braatz’s No. 13 jersey at the conclusion of the Eagles’ senior day game against Calvary Chapel.
“I was definitely touched by [Estancia] coach [Michael] Hunter when he reached out to me and let me know that they were going to do that after 25 years,” Braatz said. “The whole thing was an amazing experience, and I’m very grateful and blessed that he even thought of me.”
Braatz, 43, had a decorated career at the University of Arizona. The four-time All-American drove in 322 runs and scored 250 runs with the Wildcats. She also collected 297 hits, 85 home runs and 59 doubles.
An alumnus of Estancia’s class of 1993, Braatz was twice named the Diamond Sports/NFCA Catcher of the Year while at Arizona. Her career fielding percentage stood at .991, and she also threw out 27 of 93 would-be base stealers.
Travel ball paved the way for Braatz to have a college career. While playing for Gary Haning’s O.C. Batbusters 18U team, she won a national title.
Although her Eagles’ teams were not quite as successful, Braatz said she did have plenty of fun times at Estancia.
“I had to pitch because nobody could pitch,” Braatz reminisced with a laugh. “It was funny when I had to play my old teammates from my travel ball team. They all thought it was a big hoot.
“I was pretty much getting rocked left and right because all I knew how to do was serve up a fastball across the plate. I was just trying to throw strikes.”
In the jersey retirement ceremony, freshman third baseman Dylann Douglass, the last Eagle to wear the No. 13 and a current Batbuster, handed Braatz her gold road jersey.
The white No. 13 jersey will hang in a frame in the Estancia softball coach’s office.
Edison trio to play hockey at Long Beach State
Upon enrolling at Long Beach State, Edison’s Ryan Osterkamp, Nico Santoro and Vito Valenzano have decided to join the school’s ice hockey program.
Long Beach State competes in Division 2 of the American Collegiate Hockey Assn.
Osterkamp, the Chargers’ captain, and Santoro helped Edison win a Division 3 championship in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League as juniors.
Edison moved up to Division 1 this season, with Osterkamp producing a team-high 11 goals in 15 games. Santoro had seven points as a forward, and Valenzano contributed six points from the blue line.