COURTESY MISSOURI VALLEY COLLEGE
Loke Lastimosa led the Heart of America Athletic Conference in batting average (.492), slugging percentage (.954) and on-base percentage (.557). The Missouri Valley College shortstop also was tops on her team with 12 doubles, 32 RBIs, 19 walks and a .413 batting average.
More than a valley girl
Loke Lastimosa sparkles at shortstop for the Missouri Valley College Vikings
LOKE Lastimosa knows what winning is all about.
She played four years of softball for the highly successful Kailua High School program, leaving as a member of the Surfriders' state championship team her senior year.
The other side of the ledger tested Lastimosa this past spring as the starting shortstop for the Missouri Valley College Vikings, who were 9-34-1 and finished the season with 18 consecutive defeats.
"It was frustrating to lose so much. It was hard to keep going, to stay focused when you lose so much," Lastimosa said.
She did keep going and put up excellent numbers, good enough to be an All-Heart of America Athletic Conference first-team selection.
Lastimosa led the conference with a .492 batting average, .954 slugging percentage and .557 on-base percentage. She tied for sixth with six home runs and averaged better than one RBI per game.
Overall, Lastimosa posted a team-leading .413 average with 12 doubles, 32 RBIs and 19 walks, all team highs. She struck out just seven times.
"Loke's at-bats were amazing," said Vikings first-year coach Lynette Overstreet.
"She had every pitcher in the conference afraid to challenge her. She walked 19 of 104 at-bats, saw a lot of junk with a lot of spin. She rarely got a power pitch. They were afraid of what she would do with a fastball."
Overstreet applauded the way Lastimosa went about the business of getting the job done, of leading by example, and called her a quiet star. The coach also wanted a little more from her shortstop.
"I don't know if I should say this, but Loke's personality is real laid-back. I kind of had to force her into a different role from what she might have been in the past. I wanted her to be more vocal and energetic on the field just because she was making a lot of good plays," Overstreet said.
Lastimosa had a good laugh at her coach's comment.
"I'm from Hawaii. We're all laid-back. I'm just the type of person who goes with the flow, but I found a lot of the girls looked up to me, so I really didn't have the option to be that laid-back person," Lastimosa said.
"I guess Coach saw teammates feed off me. I kind of understood what she was getting at. I guess she was pleased."
Lastimosa did not start thinking about college until her senior year at Kailua because of the expense. She was encouraged by her counselor to look for scholarships and got one at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah.
"I did pretty good there. I had a lot of bench time and learned a lot from the girls. It helped me grow to where I am today," Lastimosa said.
She also experienced culture shock and decided she needed a college environment that was more comfortable. Lastimosa heard there were a number of Hawaii students at Missouri Valley (Marshall, Mo.). One was her cousin Jaushlyn Mansinon, who played basketball for the Vikings.
"Jaushlyn had good things to say about the environment. I thought I would get a different perspective in life and be able to achieve my goals," said the Waimanalo resident. "Jaushlyn contacted the coach and helped me get a scholarship. Everything has turned out good so far. I have no complaints."
Lastimosa was named HAAC Newcomer of the Year following her sophomore season.
"Being newcomer was a shock. I was just happy to be starting," Lastimosa said.
This year she missed two weeks with a sprained right medial collateral ligament, and was the designated player (just batted) for a few games before returning to shortstop.
"Loke has amazing range and diving ability, makes a lot of her throws from her knees. She is very talented in getting to the ball quick," Overstreet said.
"She tried to keep things relaxed on defense. We had some major injuries and we took some lumps, but Loke showed a lot of character. She knows when to hit the on switch. Loke is well-respected on campus and is succeeding in the classroom."
Lastimosa is majoring in criminal justice. She is on track to graduate next year and has discussed career options with her father (Bob).
"He suggested joining the Air Force, and I might take the police test. It's still up in the air," Lastimosa said.
Teammate Ashley Tone (Maui '02) returned to the Vikings' lineup this year after winning a battle against Hodgkins Lymphoma during the spring of 2005.
"I left school in December (2004) and underwent treatment from January to April. It really opened my eyes and made me appreciate playing ball and being in school so much more," said Tone.
When she returned to campus last fall she had doubts about her ability to perform and be beneficial to the team. Tone was out of action for eight months, and chemotherapy left her physically strapped.
"My heart was in it. I wanted to work hard so I could play again, but in preseason (last fall) training I was wiped out every day. I was a limp noodle," Tone said. "By spring I was fine and mentally I was a lot stronger."
Tone played in 43 games and hit .299 with three doubles and two triples.
"Ashley came back with a vengeance. She was one of our captains, a spitfire. She has a passion for life and knows every second counts," Overstreet said.
Tone has finished her requirements for a degree in exercise science and is taking prerequisite courses for graduate school, where she will major in physical therapy.
Cassie Chun-Ming (Roosevelt), a senior catcher, suffered a season-ending knee injury early last year.
"Cassie decided to concentrate on her academics. She was going to major at bat for us," said Overstreet.