Krissy Erickson's interest in softball developed when brother Don became involved in Little League. Their competitive relationship lasted throughout high school. Don would hit her ground balls and she would play catcher while he practiced his pitching.
Krissy, 18, a freshman shortstop at Moorpark College, will try to remain on a par with Don when the Raiders' softball team meets Palomar College (38-9) today in the first round of the Southern California regional playoffs at Palomar.
Don was the starting shortstop for the 1986 state champion College of the Canyons team and is the starting third baseman at Florida State this season.
"I'd like to do the same thing he did," Krissy said. "I'd like to win the state championship and get a scholarship to go to college."
His could be a tough act to duplicate.
Moorpark (27-11), which is unseeded in the regional and will be playing the tournament's No.1-seeded team in the first round, will use only Karen Mead to pitch the entire two-day, double-elimination tournament, Coach Will Thurston said. Moorpark's lack of pitching will magnify the importance of solid defense and hitting, he said.
But Thurston has had confidence in Krissy's abilities since the season began, starting her in place of Peggy Liebel, a returning first-team All-Western State Conference infielder whom he moved to second.
"She does all the little things right," Thurston said of Krissy. "I think she could develop into one of the state's finest players."
The 5-2, 113-pound, right-hander is batting .309 with 10 runs batted in, 16 stolen bases and a .902 fielding average this season.
Don, who hit .357 with 9 home runs and 35 RBIs in his last season at Canyons, remains in contact and gives Krissy an occasional piece of advice.
"He always tells me things like 'keep your head down' or 'stay with the basics,' " said Krissy, who believes the adjustment to college can be difficult. "It's a lot different, moving up to college ball. But because of the team, I think I've matured a lot."