As successful as Paige Dimler has been in her softball career at Rancho Buena Vista High, she has one huge regret.
With her four years as a Longhorn winding down, the 5-foot-11 left-handed hitter’s record chase could come up just short thanks to coronavirus.
Dimler still needs six home runs to claim the San Diego Section record for career home runs.
And, with just two regular-season games remaining, she’s running out of time.
Dimler’s seven home runs this season places her with 36 in her career, trailing only Oceanside’s Trina Harrison (2004-08) with 41.
Dimler’s abbreviated junior season, which was halted after just eight games, included four home runs and 10 RBIs.
The year before was Dimler’s most productive power season with 13 homers.
“I think about junior season all the time,” she said. “But I am just happy to be having a senior year instead of missing my last two years at RBV.”
Dimler was not even a run producer her first few years in softball.
The slugger started out as a slapper.
“I was smallish and scrawny growing up,” the Arizona-bound Dimler said. “Maybe about age 14, I realized I wasn’t here to just get on base.
“I felt I could hit the ball harder than I was and be more valuable. I want to hit the ball in the gaps or over the fence, score runs.”
Dimler’s career batting average of .519 is a testament to her transition four years ago.
To go with her 36 homers, she has driven in 108 runs.
“Imagine what her numbers would be with a full junior season,” RBV coach Theresa Murillo said. “She is great fundamentally. She’s a workhorse and never loafs on the field.”
The first thing you notice about Dimler is her picture-perfect left-handed swing.
There is no wasted motion, no extra movement in her mechanics.
Dimler is all about waiting for the pitch and then, in an instant, swipe the bat through the hitting zone with devastating results.
Her stroke is the handiwork of hitting coach Bobby Labs as well as workouts with former Del Norte hitter Morgan Howe from Arizona State and USA team member J.D. Reed.
“My focus is to be in position before the pitch is made,” Dimler said. “Some girls in college throw around 70 mph and any lateness will be bad.
“I’m still working on the swing and I love watching film, something I’ve done for the last five years or so, to keep my swing going.
“I call it recognize and react to the ball.”
Although she’s surprised at how fast her final season at RBV has gone, Dimler, an only child, can’t wait to play for Arizona.
“Being around girls with an insane drive to be the best is what I want to experience,” Dimler said. “When you’re around the best, you tend to step up your game.
“I’ll be homesick for a while, but I am ready to spread my wings, which I have been preparing for a long time.
“Arizona was my dream school all along. That’s why I verbally committed so early during freshman year.”
Dimler plans to major in criminal justice, hoping to one day work for the FBI.
Considering no one in her family played athletics, Dimler’s success in softball is amazing.
She was a dancer early on.
Driving past the softball fields in Vista one day, she saw girls playing softball.
She wanted to quit dancing immediately. A few days later, she did and went right to the softball field.
“There’s no history of athletics in my family,” she said. “My parents got behind me and whether it was going to a batting cage at 9 p.m. or just playing catch, they have been all in.”
Despite her junior year, Dimler wants to leave town as the No. 1 home run hitter.
Monahan is a freelance writer.