When Mia Bagatourian was six years old, she joined several of her first grade classmates in signing up for a local softball league. As her friends eventually left the sport, Bagatourian kept playing. Now a senior at Orange Lutheran, she can’t imagine not being on the diamond competing alongside her best friends.
“I just love how competitive it is, but how fun it is at the same time,” says Bagatourian. “My best friends are all the seniors, and we all love playing softball together as a group. It’s fun to compete with them and to know we have each other’s backs.”
As a right-handed pitcher for the Lancers, Bagatourian does not get intimidated by the pressure that comes with standing on the pitcher’s mound. In fact, she welcomes it.
“I love the pressure situations,” says the 17-year old. “Some people don’t like being in those situations, but I think it’s fun. I just know that I have great players behind me, so it’s okay to make mistakes.”
As she wraps up her high school playing career, Bagatourian reflects on the life lessons the sport has taught her thus far, including goal setting, time management and accountability. As a senior leader, she is intentional with her encouragement and support of the younger players on the team as a way of investing in the program’s future.
“Mia is a great role model for girls in our program,” says OLu assistant varsity softball coach, Jenny Miklos. “She works hard on the field and in the classroom, and she embodies what a student athlete should look like.”
Outside of athletics, Bagatourian volunteers her time at a local Alzheimer’s assisted living facility and serves at OLu as an Ignite team leader. Coming from a public school background, her time as a Lancer has allowed her to explore her faith.
“It’s been really interesting learning more about that aspect (of faith) and how it applies in softball,” says Bagatourian. “We pray before every game and our coaches try to instill a good faith in us. It helps a lot and teaches us good life lessons.”
Bagatourian will be continuing her softball career at Dartmouth College, a dream of hers since she was in eighth grade. She will likely study psychology and acknowledges the impact her parents have had on getting her to this point.
“My parents are my biggest role models,” says Bagatourian. “My dad has always been my coach and takes time out of his day to work with me. I really look up to him. And my mom…she teaches me everything I know and brings out the best in me.”by Jenelyn Cunningham Russo ‘88