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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Bustos Won't Play at Northridge

Softball: Heralded shortstop quits junior college, lacks transfer requirements.

April 11, 1998|PAIGE A. LEECH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CANYON COUNTRY — Less than two months after signing to play softball at Cal State Northridge, Crystl Bustos is no longer in the Matador picture.

Bustos, a two-time national junior college player of the year and a former standout shortstop at Canyon High, said Friday she has dropped out of College of the Canyons.

"It was going to take me another year and half to even step on a [college] field again," Bustos said. "To me, that just seemed like it was too long.".

Bustos, who played at Palm Beach Community College after high school because she failed to meet NCAA academic requirements, needs 18 more months of classes to obtain an Associate of Arts degree and gain Division I eligibility at Northridge.

That means Bustos would have had only one year of eligibilityremaining, in 2000.

Bustos, 20, considered one of the nation's premier players, said she plans to sign this month with the Carolina Diamonds of the Women's Professional Fastpitch League, which begins its 72-game schedule in late May.

She passed on a pro contract last summer and decided to stay in school.

"All my friends and family wanted me to finish school and play, but I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. I just wanna play," Bustos said.

Bustos, who dropped out of Canyons before the spring semester, told Northridge Coach Janet Sherman this week she would not attend Northridge.

"I don't think [Sherman] was too happy about it, but I explained my situation to her and she said, 'Good luck,' and that she hopes to see me on TV some time," Bustos said.

With several of the games on the three-month WPFL schedule televised on cable, Bustos is sure to be seen.

Bustos, who possesses power, speed and a great glove, batted more than .600 with nearly 200 runs batted in at Palm Beach, leading the Panthers to two national titles.

"I've always told people that I think she's one of the top five players in the world. There's nobody who compares to her athletically," said JoAnn Ferrieri, Palm Beach's former coach and now in her first year as coach at New Mexico State.

Bustos, The Times' 1994 Valley player of the year as a junior, was academically ineligible for half of her senior season.

She has been biding time on softball fields the past few months, helping out as an assistant at Canyon High; coaching Dale's Panthers, a 14-and-under club team and giving batting lessons.

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