Wildcat blasts into record books as home run leader

Junior first baseman Desiree Gonzalez bats on Feb. 12 against Hawaii Hilo. Photo credit: Caio Calado

Coming into the 2015 season, junior first baseman Desiree’ Gonzalez was at a total of 16 home runs in her Wildcat career. She earned a spot in the record books after blasting two more in the softball team’s final regular season game.

She tied the existing mark at 20 in late March and in the Wildcats’ four-game series against Cal State Dominguez Hills, she hit two home runs, which brought the record to 22.

The record was previously held by Hailey Stockman.

Gonzalez took the top spot during the ‘Cats opener against the Toros when she blasted a three-run home run.

“It feels amazing,” Gonzalez said. “I knew that I was one home run away from breaking it. It was an awesome moment because my whole family was there.”

Gonzalez’s mindset did not change even though she knew she was close to breaking the record, she said.

“I went in (thinking) if it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t it doesn’t,” she said. “But during that at-bat I felt really calm and just relaxed in the box.”

When she hit the home run that made her the all-time leader, the reaction of her teammates was the same as always because they were not aware that she had passed Stockman.

“They didn’t know that I had broken the record till after the game when our coach had told them,” Gonzalez said.

Senior second baseman Kelli Keefe was extremely happy that she could be a part of the record-breaking moment, she said.

“It was so awesome to be a part of that,” Keefe said. “That’s such a big accomplishment. It’s so nice to be by someone’s side when they do something that exciting and important in their career.”

Gonzalez ended the 2015 season with six home runs, tied with senior Emily McEnaney for most in the season for the Wildcats.

Gonzalez still has her senior year ahead of her, and Keefe believes that she is going to peak at the perfect time, she said.

“She is going to help lead the team to some good games and victories,” Keefe said. “It’s going to be nice to watch her continue to grow as a player and a person.”

Matthew Vislosky can be reached at [email protected] or @MattVislosky on Twitter.