Athlete of the Week: Carrion pitches Valley to tourney success

August 07, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

Before the 2001 16-and-under Pacific Southwest softball regional tournament, Imperial Valley all-star team members expressed concern about the team's offense and thought pitching would have to lead the way.

Enter Nicky Carrion.

In the Valley team's first outing, Carrion led her squad to an 11-1 victory over the Westside all-star team from Phoenix, pitching a complete game, striking out 10, allowing only two hits and giving up no earned runs.

"I was really surprised with how I did in that game. I didn't realize I had 10 strikeouts until the day after," said the 17-year-old Carrion, who will be a senior at Central Union High in El Centro in the fall. "I hadn't practiced just on my pitching in awhile, so I didn't think I'd do as good as I did."

She also had a hit and an RBI against Westside.

"They were OK. I think they were kind of average compared to the other teams we played," said Carrion, who earned all-tournament team honors, about the Phoenix-area squad.


The other teams Carrion and her teammates faced were Concord, Pearl City from Hawaii and Yuma.

Pearl City and Yuma posed the toughest challenges for the Valley.

In the second game of the tournament, Pearl City — the eventual tournament champion — no-hit the Valley in a 10-0 game. After hammering Concord 15-5, the Valley team lost 1-0 to Yuma, a game in which Carrion picked up a hit.

"Hawaii was an awesome team. You could kind of tell that they had been playing together and practicing for awhile," said Carrion, who also played first base in the tourney . "But Yuma was totally beatable. We probably should have beat them."

Had the Valley squad defeated Yuma it would have earned a spot in the championship contest against Hawaii.

While Carrion thought the loss to Yuma was a heartbreaker, it was an accomplishment just getting in a position to make the championship.

"Going into the tournament, we really didn't know how our team would do because we hadn't practiced a lot together. But as we kept practicing we gradually got more comfortable with each other and were playing better," said Carrion. "So a lot of credit has to go to our coaches. In that one week we practiced, they really got us prepared for the tournament. I think if we had practiced as long as some of those other teams, we would've done a lot better."

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