By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 8, 2017) — It makes sense Stephenville star Julia Flores does most her work from inside a circle.
Her game is so well rounded, after all.
Flores is packing up both her shutdown pitching and sweet swing and transporting them to East Texas Baptist University following one last season of high school softball in Stephenville this coming spring. She signed a commitment letter with ETBU Wednesday in the SHS foyer, where family and friends gathered with teammates, coaches, administrators and other other well-wishers to celebrate.
And even with a season remaining, Flores has already had a career worth celebrating. Not only is she the winningest pitcher in school history, but also one of its top all-time hitters.
Flores the pitcher boasts 54 wins, 588 strikeouts and a 2.34 career earned run average at SHS, where Flores the hitter sports a .385 career batting average with 98 runs driven in and 108 total hits, 41 of them for extra bases. She has scored 77 runs in three seasons, which offsets more than half the 132 total earned runs she has allowed while amassing 395.1 innings inside the pitcher’s circle. She has pitched in 92 of the 97 games Stephenville has played the past three seasons, starting in the circle in 88 of them.
Flores joined current Tarleton freshman Sami Shaffer and power slugger Nadine Arredondo, a Fastpitch News All-America selection, in leading the past two Honeybee teams to a school-record 25 wins in 2015 and 26 in 2016. They also captured back-to-back outright district championships, the only such titles in program history, and advanced to the regional quarterfinals then the area round while ranking consistently among the top 10 teams in Conference 4A coaches polls.
Flores was named District 8-4A Pitcher of the Year last season, going 22-6 with a 1.88 earned run average and 198 strikeouts. She also hit a robust .463 with 6 home runs, matching Jessica Howell for second behind the school-record 12 blasted by Arredondo. Flores collected 46 RBI, second only to Arredondo and her record 52.
Located in Marshall, ETBU is a member of the NCAA Division III-affiliated American Southwest Conference. The Tigers ranked ninth in the final 2016 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III poll, and are currently in the midst of a fundraising drive for an impressive new stadium, where they may want to reconsider the circumference of their pitcher’s circle.
With Flores officially committed, they will need room for an extra large dose of well-rounded talent.