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PITCHER HOPES TO MAKE GRADE AT NOTRE DAME.

Byline: Bryan Winchell Special to the Daily News

When college softball coaches ask La Reina High School's Jennifer Baltruzak whether she wants to play for their school next year, the senior has a quick answer: No.

Notre Dame coach Liz Miller was the sole exception.

Baltruzak, who carries a 3.83 grade-point average at La Reina, already has been accepted to Notre Dame for her academics and is trying to convince Miller that she would make a nice addition to the team. She has sent Miller a video of her playing and is waiting on her response.

If she does play, she would prefer to pitch. For La Reina, Baltruzak had a solid season last year in leading the Regents to the Southern Section finals.

"Pitching is my favorite position," Baltruzak said. "I love being out there. I don't like the pressure, I just like being the one to start everything."

She also plays third and first base for La Reina and has played some outfield in the past. She batted leadoff last year for the Regents. However, she doesn't think she'll be playing those positions for the Fighting Irish.

Even if she doesn't play for Notre Dame, Baltruzak is looking forward to her final season with La Reina. The Regents lost six seniors from last year and thus will be very young, with Baltruzak the most experienced player on the team.

For Baltruzak, though, life without softball at Notre Dame wouldn't exactly be unfulfilling. She is from a family of Notre Dame graduates - two cousins and a few uncles went there - and she has visited the campus a few times.

"I love the campus," Baltruzak said. "It's very enclosed, and I like all the tradition and mystique that surrounds it. The people are so nice."

But one of the bigger draws for Baltruzak is something that attracts much attention to the school: football.

"The first thing I loved about it was the football," Baltruzak said.

For Baltruzak, who has lived in Texas and California all her life, her visits to the school and trips to the football games have all taken place in mild September. When the winter weather comes around, though, she'll be ready.

"I'm planning on layering lots of clothing," she said.

While Baltruzak currently is playing soccer for the Regents, she has no plans to play for Notre Dame. Unlike softball, Baltruzak treats soccer like a pastime. The Irish won the national title last season, so she feels she'd be a better spectator than contributor.

Whether Baltruzak makes the softball team remains to be seen, but she knows one fact in which to find solace.

"All of my friends are jealous of me right now because they are still doing their applications," she said with a laugh.

CAPTION(S):

PHOTO

Photo La Reina High School junior Jennifer Baltruzak already has been accepted to the University of Notre Dame for her 3.83 GPA. The two-sport athlete also would like to play for the softball team. Gene Blevins/Special to the Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 20, 1996
Words:506
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