By Stephen Ramirez
MONTEBELLO — Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary’s Jackie Vargas has been one of the area’s top softball players during the past three seasons, and she was rewarded Wednesday for that success.
Vargas, a senior pitcher/third baseman, made her college choice Wednesday, signing with Northwest Nazarene, of Nampa, Idaho. The campus is close to Boise State University.
“This is my dream come true,” Vargas said during a ceremony at CSHM. “It’s everything I’ve ever wanted, and now that it’s actually happening, it’s probably the best moment of my life.
Vargas has had three solid seasons with the Cardinals. She led CSHM to the 2014 CIF Southern Section Division 6 title game, losing to St. Bonaventure, and earned All-Del Rey League each of the past two seasons. She was also the Cardinals team MVP last spring.
She will join NCAA Division II Northwest Nazarene, which was 17-29 last season while competing in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
“I visited the school and liked that it was a small school,” Vargas said. “It’s a small community and everyone got along. The players are like just one big family, and I really liked that about them.”
Vargas is not looking forward to living far away from home, but she does believe she will transition to that. The Crusaders, who split tournament games vs. Azusa Pacific last season, also have played tournament games in Las Vegas and Turlock, which are a few hours drive from home.
“I think at first it will (bet tough being far from home),” Vargas said. “But after a few months, I think I will be able to adjust and I’ll be OK.”
First, she’s looking forward to her final season with the Cardinals.
“I think we’re going to be better than last year,” Vargas said. “I think we can make the playoffs. Our goal, ultimately, is to make it to the (CIF-SS) championship game this year.”