After her parents encouraged their young daughter to participate in sports, Paige Vargas took on softball, where as a seven year old, having her dad as the coach and eating the after-game snacks were her favorite part of the experience.
Now as a four-year varsity player for Santa Margarita Catholic High School, Vargas discovered during her younger years on those recreational teams that her happy place is on the pitcher’s mound. The self-proclaimed perfectionist finds a comfort in having a significant say in the outcome of each contest.
“I like to know that I’m in control of the game,” says Vargas. “Everything that happens starts in the circle and ends in the circle.”
Proud to represent her school in a league as tough as the Trinity League, the 17-year-old Vargas is heart of the Eagles.
“Paige is an outstanding athlete and one of the core leaders of our softball program,” says Santa Margarita head varsity softball coach, John FitzPatrick. “On the field, her intensity is infectious. She has an inner strength and a determination to win. Off the field, she is kind and compassionate, and demonstrates that through her service to others.”
That service to others can be seen through Vargas’ participation as a Link Crew member and Student Ambassador at Santa Margarita, where she guides prospects and in-coming freshman through the process of becoming an Eagle.
Some challenges that have faced Vargas in the sport include her height, as the 5’-4” pitcher is considered to be on the shorter side of those who play the position, especially when it comes to college recruiting.
But Vargas is thrilled to be headed to North Dakota State University after graduation, where they recognize her for the athlete that she is, despite her smaller stature. The Mission Viejo resident will be pitching for the Bison while studying kinesiology or physical therapy, with the goal of becoming a physical therapist or coach.
A strong mental game that has helped her in all aspects of life is just one thing that Vargas has taken away from playing this sport.
“Softball has taught me so many different things, resilience, definitely discipline,” says Vargas. “It’s a very good sport to learn life lessons from.”
Inspired early on by Olympic gold medalist and former USA Softball national team member, Jennie Finch, Vargas uses many of the former superstar pitcher’s words to motivate her in her own approach to the game.
Vargas is also grateful to her parents for providing the opportunity to play softball and for their unending support. And while exposure to Catholicism was new for Vargas upon arriving at Santa Margarita, her time on campus has given her a new perspective on her faith.
“The more I’ve gotten to know who God is, what he’s done…I’ve grown to really love God,” says Vargas. “He’s helped me in so many moments in my life besides softball.”