Beltran leads softball team

Desiree Beltran profile 2:Beltran, a shortstop, is the Hornets? best hitter.:File Photo


Desiree Beltran profile 2:Beltran, a shortstop, is the Hornets? best hitter.:File Photo

Sergio Saldana

As a true freshman last season, 18-year-old Desiree Beltran cemented her role on the Sacramento State Hornets softball team. She became the third player in Sac State Division I history to hit at least .400, 32 points better than any other Pacific Coast Softball Conference player.

Now 19, Beltran, sophomore liberal studies major, was born in Woodland Hills and grew up in nearby Agoura Hills, Calif., a suburb outside Fernando Valley located in Southern California.

Desiree Beltran grew up in a family-oriented environment. She enjoyed a close relationship with both of her parents, particularly her father, David Beltran, who had the greatest impact upon her in sports.

She began her softball career at an early age. She was a two-sport athlete, playing softball and soccer and rapidly excelling in each respective sport. However, softball was the sport that stuck.

“When I was little, my brother started playing and I wanted to be just like him, so I starting playing,” Desiree Beltran said.

Sylvia Beltran, Desiree’s mother, said her daughter displayed natural ability.

“I remember when I first took her into play T-Ball in Agoura Hills, they have two levels,” Sylvia Beltran said. “They recruited her into the national team, which was a little bit more aggressive and a lot more competitive level and from then on she played on all-stars every year since.”

With the joy of success she has experienced, Desiree Beltran said she has also felt the pain of injury, which was a vast hurdle she had to overcome.

In the eighth grade, she broke her ankle playing basketball. Then as a freshman in high school, she was doing some agility workouts and came down on the same ankle wrong, breaking it again.

David Beltran said they thought her playing career might be over and Desiree feared the same.

After consulting with her orthopedic surgeon, it was determined that she would be able to continue her already successful career.

“I can say to overcome that challenge, I was very, very proud of her,” David Beltran said. “She really worked her butt off and she is where she is today, it wasn’t an easy road.”He said Desiree’s dedication to the game and her competitive nature is what kept her going.

“My father ran track and so he was really competitive and he just instilled that into me to be competitive,” Beltran said.

Having fun and playing with passion has allowed Desiree Beltran to become a great player, David Beltran said.

Along with natural talent comes the persistence of hard work she dedicates to the game.”She has natural ability, but she pays her dues and she works hard,” he said. “I refer to it as “The labor of love.'”

Outside of practice, Desiree Beltran devotes hours upon hours perfecting her swing using a softball tee, taking grounders and really trying to become a student of the game, rather than just playing it.

“Every time she is working, every time she is on- and off-the-field, she puts in the extra effort to get better,” said Sac State pitcher Megan Schaefer.

Her work ethic has allowed her to lead the Hornets in almost all offensive categories.In her freshman year, Beltran finished with a .413 batting average, 23 runs, 62 hits, 14 doubles, seven home runs, 36 RBI , a 470 on-base percentage and a .660 slugging percentage.

“There is nobody that’s worked on their own anymore or any harder than Desiree Beltran to become the player that she’s become in the world of softball,” said softball head coach Kathy Strahan.

She posted the highest batting average and home run total ever by a Sac State freshman. Beltran was the unanimous choice as the Pacific Coast Softball freshman of the year.Sac State recruited her to replace the lossof shortstop Amy Tomkins who was a huge loss a few years ago.

“She went in and started and held it down all year for us,” Strahan said. “She was stellar for us; she clearly surpassed our expectations.

Sac State will go into this upcoming season losing four of its top five hitters from last season, making Beltran one of the veterans on a young team.

“For the upcoming season, personally, I just want to stay mentally in the game and within myself,” Desiree Beltran said. “I don’t want to let my team down, I don’t want to let myself down. I feel I need to be the best that I can be.”

Sergio Saldana can be reached at [email protected]