Kristina Mojica was rewarded for her patience, perseverance and work ethic on Wednesday.
In front of coaches, teammates and friends at the East Union library, the Lancers’ senior catcher signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her softball career at NCAA Division III William Pease University of Raleigh, N.C.
“My goal ever since I started playing softball was to play somewhere in college, further my education and continue to play the game I love,” said Mojica, a straight-A student. “It’s validation for all my hard work. I wouldn’t have gotten here if it wasn’t for that.”
East Union head coach Brian Goulart said Mojica could have been a four-year varsity starter, but blocking the way over the past three years was standout Alejandra Rascon, who now plays for Cal State Northridge.
Mojica was one of East Union’s top players in the lower levels and was promoted to the varsity her sophomore year when the Lancers earned a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title and was were named the Cal-Hi Sports Division III Team of the Year.
Up until this season, Mojica’s playing time has been sparse. She missed games last year with a knee injury but contributed to the Lancers’ championship run in 2015 after Rascon sustained an injury.
“I didn’t want her to get hurt, obviously, she’s earned her time, but anything can happen,” Mojica said. “I had to work my hardest to get to where I wanted to be, and that was playing behind the plate. Playing behind her made me work even harder.”
Now healthy and with the path to the backstop cleared, Mojica has shined for the 8-1 Lancers. She’s hitting .480 (12 for 25) with four doubles and nine RBIs.
Goulart is thankful Mojica stuck it out with the Lancers. He has had several players in similar predicaments in the past, but instead of waiting their turn they’d transfer to another shool or quit the game altogether.
“It’s rare in this generation to see that,” he said.
And East Union is benefitting from her hard work.
“She’s tattooing the ball. Even her outs are unbelievable outs,” Goulart said. “Every time she swings the bat it looks like it’s going to be a line drive. She’s having a banner season and she’s carrying our team. She is just a gem to have on the team. She never complains and she always works hard.”
Mojica was drawn to William Pease University’s small campus — the school has a smaller enrollment size than East Union with just over 1,000 undergraduates — and proximity to Downtown Raleigh. She plans on double majoring in business and pre-law.
“Everything is a close walk,” Mojica said. “That’s good, because I don’t have a car.”
The Pacers compete in the USA South Athletic Conference. They’re currently 5-9 in conference play and 13-19 overall. Charlie Dobbins serves as head coach.
Mojica noted that her position on the team is not guaranteed, which is just fine.
“I’m going to have to earn my spot there, and I feel like everything I’ve had to go through in my softball career has already given me that experience,” she said. “I felt like it was a sign that that was the school I needed to go to.”