May 16, 2012 - 7:12 pm
Legacy softball coach Dan Casel may have to stop himself when it comes to filling out his lineup card for the first few games of next season.
For the past four years, the Longhorns have had one constant in their lineup: Sierra Pico, pitcher.
Pico, though, will graduate this year, much to the delight of Legacy’s league opponents.
The right-hander went out with a bang, though, earning Northwest League pitcher of the year honors, as selected by the league’s coaches.
“It’s going to be really tough replacing her,” Casel said. “We have to hope someone walks in the door.”
Playing 16 games in a league that boasted some of the best lineups in Southern Nevada, Pico still managed to post a 1.74 ERA and strike out 159 in 125 innings. She surrendered just 89 hits and 27 walks.
“Once she would get into her zone, she was pretty tough to hit,” Casel said. “She had a lot of movement on her pitches.”
Pico didn’t get many days off, either. The rest of Legacy’s team combined to throw only 35 innings.
“She knew she just had to go out and pitch,” Casel said. “She knew the pressure was on her. She was very consistent.”
For four years, Pico was the Longhorns’ ace in the circle. It was a spot she never took lightly, always putting in extra work to try to improve.
Pico even spent some of her offseason training with Legacy’s baseball team, running stairs and doing long-distance runs.
“It wasn’t like she was coming in last. She’d consistently be among the top five or 10,” Casel said. “It got to the point where the baseball coaches told me they wished she was a boy so she could play for them.
“No one ever told her to do it. She just took it upon herself to work out with them for two or three months in the offseason.”
Pico also was one of the Longhorns’ top offensive weapons, hitting .406 with 21 RBIs and 37 runs from the leadoff spot.
Palo Verde shortstop Angel Council was named the Northwest’s Most Valuable Player.
Shadow Ridge’s Art Cassman took coach of the year honors in the league.
In the Southwest, Desert Oasis catcher Emily Heinz was the MVP, and Bishop Gorman’s Dayton Yingling earned pitcher of the year accolades. Gorman’s Kevin Smith was named coach of the year.
Eldorado swept the Northeast awards, with seniors Taylor Schroeder and Ashley Jarzombek earning MVP and pitcher of the year honors, respectively. Melissa Ortiz was the coach of the year.
Coronado sophomore Danielle Amato was named the Southeast’s MVP. Foothill senior Alex Petrolia was the league’s pitcher of the year, and the Falcons’ Tom Mayes was named coach of the year.