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Clark catches on, and on, and on...

Del Oro junior’s summer season includes trip to Canada Cup
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Ciera Clark will be relaxing with friends and family this weekend, relishing her final few days of summer. But don’t be surprised if she instinctually squats and sticks her left arm out in front of her. The Del Oro High junior recently wrapped up a summer schedule that included close to 60 games with the California Grapettes ASA softball team. She spent nearly all of those games in the crouch behind the plate at catcher. “I had sore legs and my toes start to hurt from getting hit all the time,” Clark said. “Afterwards you’re sore, but you get used to it. I’ve been catching for almost seven years so you have to just grin and bear it.” Clark played with the under-16 team based in Lodi and saw some of the top competition in the world this summer. Her Grapettes squad was invited to the Canada Cup last month and saw teams from Australia, Canada and all over the U.S. at the prestigious tournament. “It was definitely the highlight of the summer,” Clark said of the tournament in Vancouver, B.C. Another trip with the Grapettes took Clark to Sioux Falls, S.D. for the ASA Nationals, where she caught up with two of her Del Oro teammates. Savannah Pingree, a senior standout for the Golden Eagles, was busy playing with the California Breeze while Hannah George, a junior, was representing the Roseville Heat. Clark wrapped up the summer season at a tournament in Las Vegas, where she turned in one of her strongest performances of the year. “It was our last game and almost all of our pitchers were hurt, but I was catching and I played real well,” she said. “We ended up losing in the last inning, but I played my heart out and got some clutch RBIs.” Clark’s goal is to make the long hours in the summer sun pay off in the coming years. She’s hoping to play college ball at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. But these days, she’s relaxing as much as she can, knowing school is starting soon and the next softball season is right around the corner. “I’m exhausted right now,” said Clark, who is interested in studying sports medicine. “You just get done with high school (softball) and then the summer season starts. Now we have about three weeks off and then fall ball starts.”