• December 1, 2020

HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Lara steps up in leadership role for Lady Panthers - Odessa American: Oavarsity

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HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Lara steps up in leadership role for Lady Panthers

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Posted: Monday, March 2, 2020 8:33 pm

Fast forward to the 2020 season and that leadership role is needed even more on a team that has plenty of new faces.

Lara is one of  two seniors on the roster and dealing with that spotlight is something that she embraces.

“It definitely feels good to be in that leadership position and help everyone on the team,” Lara said. “To be someone that the players can look up to is a great feeling.”

It’s also encouraging for first-year head coach Angela Arebalos to see that mentality out of her team captain.

“She’s taken on that leadership role so well,” Arebalos said. “She’s the first one there and the one out there talking and helping everyone out. You can’t ask anything more from her when it comes to that.”

The Lady Panthers had only played one game prior to the start of play at the West Texas Classic Thursday at the Freddie Ezell Softball Complex in Midland.

But Lara says that the early part of the season is good for her and the team to see where they stand before the start of District 2-6A play in March.

And early on, she says she’s able to pick out a strength of her team.

“I think one of our biggest strengths is defense,” Lara said. “I feel like we come out really strong throughout every game and scrimmage that we’ve played but we can always get better.”

Having that solid foundation to build on is important for her and the rest of her teammates.

Sophomore pitcher Madi Martinez says that Lara has become an important guide to her both on and off the field.

“I lean on her a lot,” Martinez said. “I throw a lot of inside pitches and have a lot of movement on my screwball.

"I know I can depend on her to make a play and I’ve really learned a lot from her.”

Teams use the early part of the season to figure out lineups and build chemistry heading into district play.

For Arebalos, however, she says that that cohesiveness is already a strength for her team and credits players like Lara for helping shape that.

“The chemistry really stands out,” she said. “Quite a few of them have played with each other growing up so it’s a good thing to have.

"The bond and the trust is there and it’s really nice to have when you have a young team like we do.”

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