Alverno pitcher named Star-News softball Player of the Year.
Above: Alverno High’s Michelle Escamilla, Pasadena Star News softball Player of the Year. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/SPORTS)
By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
PASADENA – Pitcher Michelle Escamilla was a big fish in a small pond for four seasons at Alverno High School.
As a senior, Escamilla and her teammates from the tiny school in Sierra Madre found themselves going up against larger schools during nonleague play.
Escamilla proved she was not only a big fish from that small pond but among the best in the San Gabriel Valley while posting a 23-3 record as the Jaguars finished 23-4.
For her outstanding season, Escamilla is the Star-News softball Player of the Year for 2008.
“I think she knew that in order for us to do well, she had to bring it up this year, and I’ll tell you right now, she had an awesome year,” Alverno coach Frank Russo said.
Escamilla, a four-year starter, acknowledged it helped to have a more well-rounded team this season.
“I had a lot more confidence out there pitching this season because the team was the best, I think, out of the four years I played,” Escamilla said. “It made me feel real confident out there when I have really good players backing me up.”
Following a 21-2 junior season in which she practically carried the team, Escamilla enjoyed great success as a senior.
“I’m definitely impressed with our school every year, but this year especially,” she said. “Even though we didn’t get to the finals like I had wanted, I still feel pretty good about the season we had.”
Escamilla, who also batted .423 with seven doubles and three triples and was second on the team with 22 RBIs, proved she belonged at the Arroyo Tournament with impressive showings against Covina and Los Altos.
She struck out 13 in a 2-1 loss to Covina and came back with 10 strikeouts in a 1-0 setback to Los Altos.
“A lot of our players are kind of young, and I’m sure they don’t know how significant that game was, but I thought it was a pretty big deal that we could do that well against a large school and such a highly ranked large school,” she said.
Added Russo: “The knock we get is that our league is not that strong, but we played a lot of good teams and she did very well against exceptional teams.”
Another big victory for the Jaguars was a 3-0 victory at La Ca ada on May 2. Escamilla allowed one hit, struck out nine and went 1 for 3 with a run scored.
A pair of unearned runs proved costly in the Jaguars’ 2-0 loss to Paraclete in the CIF-Southern Section Division VI quarterfinals. But the outgoing senior showed what she could do against some of the area’s best players at the Public vs. Private all-star game when she struck out 18 in nine innings.
“That was a great cap, especially playing against some public schools who said, `How good is she?’ ” Russo said. “People wanted to know who Michelle is and what she does, and they got an opportunity to see her.”
Escamilla turned down some four-year offers to stay close to home and will attend Mt. SAC.
“A lot of my offers were outside California and I’m dead-set on staying here,” Escamilla said. “I think (Mt. SAC) is the largest junior college in the country and a good choice for me.
“I definitely think that I’m going to take those two years to improve because I do want to still keep playing after that, and if I step up my game a little more, I can get into a good school here in California.”