The Lions already suffered from one scoreless inning and in order to continue on, they needed a hit. Senior Kaitlin Estes came up to the plate and as the ball soared through the air, her swing gave the Lions a solid shot and marked the start of Vanguard’s 4-1 victory in game one against Hope International University.
Estes was recruited to Vanguard as a freshman and has been a vital component to the team’s success and was recognized as the Female Athlete of the Year in this year’s awards chapel.
The Costa Mesa native has numerous record-breaking moments, with the top one being ranked as the No. 1 in the NAIA with a total of 23 doubles.
“I felt like all the hard work that I’ve put in for the past 13 years can all be summed up in this award,” Estes said.
Receiving this award was a future goal for her as a freshman and with all her dedication to the game and numerous hours of practice, Estes is ranked No. 1 in the NAIA with 81 hits.
The 21-year-old attributes her success to her parents and twin sister, who is also on the softball team.
“Being a twin, she’s always helped me. I can only thank her for helping me improve as an athlete even though she doesn’t even know it,” Estes said. “I also want to thank my parents for supporting me and giving me the ability to play softball my whole life, to go to school, and give me this journey so that I can have all of these opportunities.”
Off the field, Estes is one of the very few math majors at Vanguard and enjoys learning new math concepts. Her hope is to be a math teacher to express her love for math to people who don’t like it and hopes that they too can see the beauty of it.
Being a student athlete is also very time consuming and one of her biggest struggles is dealing with stress. The stress of balancing between school, practice and games, having to do homework, projects, and studying while being tired from softball takes an emotional toll and through it all, Estes has accomplished so much in her college career.
“The legacy that I want to leave is my work ethic. I take pride in trying to do the right thing and trying to do it well. I feel like if the Lord is going to give you an ability, do it to the best of your ability and work as hard as you can. That’s not only in softball, but in everyday life.”
With the Lions being in the middle of the Golden State Athletics Conference (GSAC), Estes has played a vital role in her consistency as middle infield.
Although going to college wasn’t a drastic move for her, Vanguard has been just the right fit for her as a student and with the athletics program. As a senior in high school she signed her letter of intent.
“I couldn’t imagine what my life would look like right now if I went anywhere else. Everything that has happened in the past four years, I couldn’t imagine it any different and I’m very satisfied and fulfilled with my time here.”