Swinging into another season: varsity softball reflects on growth, progress


Photo credit: Archer Communications

Coach Tony Flores fills out a scoring sheet while Archer plays Immaculate Heart. Coach Flores has been coaching for over 30 years, and said he most appreciates how the Archer team is respectful.

By Melinda Wang, Senior Reporter

The whirr of the pitching machine fades into the background as softballs meet bats and go hurtling towards practice nets. This is the typical set-up for a softball practice on Archer’s backfield.

The varsity softball season officially began Feb. 14, with a 22-10 win against St. Mary’s Academy. The team has played a total of seven games, winning two and losing five.

Junior Malia Apor started playing softball when she was 5 years old. She has been playing softball for Archer since she was a freshman and is currently the team captain.

“Coming to Archer in ninth grade, being new, I wanted to have a community right away when I moved,” Apor said. “I’ve always loved sports, so I knew I wanted to continue my sport in high school. Once I met Coach Tony Flores, who is our head coach, I knew that I wanted to play at school.”

Freshman Cleo Wilson began playing softball in fifth grade. She said she wanted to join because she was familiar with the rules of softball, and she enjoyed how the game doesn’t require much stamina. She said the softball team at Archer is very welcoming.

“You don’t have to be super good at [softball], especially at Archer,” Wilson said. “Everyone’s accepting about making mistakes.”

Apor said mistakes are a part of learning from the experience playing softball. The team practices five days a week and normally plays once or twice a week in games. Each practice is 1 hour and 40 minutes.

“The thing I like about softball is that it teaches you life lessons that you can’t learn in a classroom setting. So, for example, in softball, people always say that softball is like a game of failure… it’s a really hard sport. It’s not natural,” Apor said. “So what’s good about playing softball is that you learn how to deal with failures and learn from them. And that’s kind of how the entirety of the sport works.”

Tony Flores has coached softball for over 30 years. Before coaching at Archer, he was a coach for Marymount High School, Chadwick High School and South High School in Torrance. Flores was hired at Archer in February of 2019.

“I did my pros and cons of where I was going to coach; I chose here, and the final step was a softball field, but I ended up getting a great group [of students]. There’s something special about the group with the girls,” Flores said. “I liked the diversity when I came from the walkthrough I did here, and it was different from the other private schools that I have been at. I think it all starts with leadership here with Ms. English and Coach Smith.”

Apor reflected on the development of her positions on the softball team over her first two years playing softball at Archer.

“Freshman year, especially, while there were still COVID restrictions, it was nice to have a softball family,” Apor said. “During my sophomore year, it was super nice to be mentored by the girls who were seniors. And then this year, being captain, it’s nice to be that person for the younger girls.”

Flores has coached from tee-ball all the way to junior college level softball and said he came to be passionate about coaching through coaching his two sisters in softball. Flores said he tries to spread community and family to the team because family is impactful to him.

“I let the girls know that the softball field is their outlet from all the homework, that it’s their safe space. That’s where they can come,” Flores said. “I play music when we can- —we’re going to work hard and have fun doing that, but I try to preach the family aspect of it. This is your family.”

Apor adds that there is more to softball than winning. She said, as captain, seeing her teammates learn to love the sport is what is most rewarding.

“Softball is about having fun and learning more about yourself through sports. I think that’s given me a different perspective on life and how to measure success,” Apor said. “It’s not getting a ‘W’ always.”