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Valley / Ventura County Sports | ERIC SONDHEIMER

Blumfield Never Had a Problem Measuring Up to Competition


From ages 6 to 12, Cara Blumfield was more than a girl playing baseball with the boys. She was an all-star infielder in one of the region's strongest youth leagues.

Those wanting to play shortstop at Westhills PONY baseball made sure they weren't on Blumfield's team. Otherwise, they had no chance to start.

"We didn't know what to say," said Brian Somoza, a former all-star teammate. "She would be spectacular. We were all in amazement. Every play was a guarantee."

Blumfield eventually moved on to softball, but her early baseball experiences provided a sneak peek to her future.

She arrived at El Camino Real High in the fall of 1996 as a sophomore transfer from Calabasas and will leave next month as one of the most successful athletes in the 30-year history of the Woodland Hills campus.

"She's everything a coach would want in a player and more," said Lori Chandler, the girls' basketball coach. "She has put us on the map as far as being recognized as one of the better high schools in the Valley."

A two-time All-City guard, Blumfield averaged 23.3 points as a junior and 18.1 points as a senior. But it's softball where her game really soared.

"Cara is an amazing young lady," softball Coach Neils Ludlow said. "A year ago, [people] used to say, 'Who's the best shortstop in school?' And it was Cara."

Blumfield, soon to become a three-time All-City shortstop, is trying to lead El Camino Real to its 10th City championship in 15 years.

She's batting .603 with six home runs and 28 runs batted in.

As a fielder, she has soft hands, a quick release, good arm and a willingness to get dirty.

"I guess it's just natural," she said of playing shortstop. "People have told me I have the best hands they've ever seen. I don't see that. I just field the ball. I have pretty good range and am not afraid to dive."

At Westhills, Blumfield played with and against Somoza, Conor Jackson, Woody Cliffords, Jason and Jeff Spector and others who went on to excel in high school baseball. Blumfield more than held her own.

"Everybody used to be surprised to see a girl on the all-star team, then she would prove herself right then and there," Somoza said.

Blumfield became such a well-known athlete that she inspired other young girls in the community.

Just ask freshman catcher Kelsey Walker.

"In the fifth grade, I went to a little Catholic school and I'd always watch her play baseball," Walker said. "Then I watched her at El Camino and it made me want to play softball more and more. The same goals she set, I want to reach.

"I can honestly say she is my hero. She's one of a kind."

The next few weeks are a countdown ending Blumfield's high school career. There's so much happening. The City softball playoffs begin Tuesday. There's the senior talent show, senior breakfast, senior prom, grad night and finally graduation on June 24.

The El Camino Real coaches are not looking forward to life after Blumfield.

"She's a huge, huge set of shoes to fill," Chandler said. "She makes things that are very difficult look very easy. To watch her play is like an effortless thing."

Said Ludlow: "Once in a while, athletes come along like Cara and it's difficult to replace them."

Blumfield is beginning to face the realization that a major part of her life is coming to a close. She has accepted a softball scholarship to Boston College and will soon leave behind family and friends.

"Sometimes I don't want to think ahead and sometimes I just want to keep on going," she said. "I'm going to miss it.

"I feel that when I graduate, half of my life stops and my new one is going to begin.

"I've experienced so much and I've loved it all. I know I've lived my childhood the way I wanted to. I've fulfilled everything I wanted to do."

Eric Sondheimer's local column appears Wednesday and Sunday. He can be reached at (818) 772-3422.

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