Once the lengthy practice in the late-afternoon concluded and the start of the Memorial Day three-day weekend began, Maddi Velasquez went straight to the batting cage adjacent to the Village Christian High softball field.
For about an extra 30 minutes, Velasquez took her share of swings determined to further show her testament to being a dedicated player. With each pitch tossed underhand by one of the assistant coaches, Velasquez, a La Crescenta resident, hammered the balls off the netting.
It's the work ethic displayed by Velasquez that's made her one of the elite players on the fourth-seeded Crusaders, who will face top-seeded Whittier Christian in a CIF Southern Section Division V semifinal road game at 3:15 p.m. today. The other semifinal matchup will pit second-seeded La Cañada against host South Hills.
"It's her mind set," said sixth-year Village Christian Coach Mike Delaney, whose team is seeking its first CIF championship since 2003 and first appearance in a title contest since 2004. "She's very driven because she wants to succeed.