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San Diego Player of the Week : Wesson's Family Likes Playing an Active Role in Her Career

April 23, 1986|CHRIS DE LUCA

SAN DIEGO — When Michelle Wesson of Christian High School is struggling on the mound in the late innings of a softball game, she can depend on support from her two sisters, who attend every game.

Wesson's sisters, Janelle and Sara, offer Michelle more than cheers--they can provide solid hitting and fielding.

The three sisters are members of the Patriot varsity team--Michelle is a junior, Janelle is a senior center fielder and Sara is a freshman left fielder.

"Each of the girls has a different personality which makes it interesting," said Patriot Coach Rene Palafox. "They get along very well. They all pull for each other. . . . It's a very close family."

Michelle, The Times' Player of the Week, struck out 16 Crawford batters last Friday in a 16-1 win. Crawford's loss was its first in 20 City Central League games.

Wesson is 12-3 with an earned-run average of 0.91.

Michelle gives much of the credit for her success to the support she receives from her sisters.

"We help each other with our weak points," Michelle said. "It's easier to get on your sister and give criticism 'cause you are her sister. You can say to your sister 'Raise your bat' and give constructive criticism without putting her down.

"You can say things to your sister that would offend your friends."

She said that the sisters are "just like best friends" away from the softball field, shopping, going to the movies and even triple-dating. Michelle and Janelle began playing for the varsity three years ago, when Michelle was a freshman and Janelle a sophomore. For the past three seasons Michelle has been the top pitcher for the Patriots, being named All-League each year and first-team All-CIF last year.

Palafox said Michelle's strongest asset is her steady control. "Last year, our defense wasn't as solid so Michelle almost had to strike everybody out," Palafox said. "This year she has more confidence in the defense." Michelle pitches in most of the Patriots' games, including 26 innings in three consecutive extra-inning games during the Hilltop tournament. In a 15-and-under state summer tournament, she injured her rotator cuff in her pitching shoulder. But the pain hasn't slowed her down, although she has switched from throwing a rise to a drop.

"In the Crawford game I saw her throw has hard as she ever has," Palafox said. "If there was an arm injury, you couldn't tell from watching her that day."

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