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Records hunt ‘pumps up’ Sahuarita pitcher

Softball star has variety of strong weapons

Sahuarita softball player Yvette Alvarez has been effective on the mound and at the plate.

Sahuarita softball player Yvette Alvarez has been effective on the mound and at the plate.

Sahuarita sophomore Yvette Alvarez proved to be a strong up-and-coming pitcher in 2008.

In 2009, she’s looking to break school records.

Alvarez pitched 161 1/3 innings and went 18-8 with a 1.21 ERA for the Mustangs in her freshman year; she had 206 strikeouts.

Shannon Andersen, who graduated in 2005, holds the record for strikeouts in a season (242) and career (593).

“I think my chances are pretty good,” Alvarez said. “I tried beating the record last year. It gets me pumped up to (try to better her record).”

Alvarez is also effective on offense. Last year she batted .391 with six home runs and 36 RBIs. Alvarez believes a pitcher has to be just as valuable in the batter’s box.

“People don’t expect it,” she said. “It’s good to be good on both sides. I practice hard both ways.”

Alvarez started playing softball in elementary school and was influenced by her cousin Dianna Delgado, who also pitched for Sahuarita and graduated in 2007.

“She was a very good pitcher and always tried her best,” Alvarez said. “She had a lot of different pitches to throw. She watches my games and comes to our practices. I get excited when she watches me.”

Alvarez said her strongest pitch is her fastball, which averages 61 to 62 mph. She is working on the movement of her pitches.

“Her offspeed and change-up separates her from other pitchers in the area,” Sahuarita coach Chris Fanning said. “What makes her so dominant is working ahead and being smart with pitch location. Her riseball and movement will take her to a whole ‘nother level.”

Alvarez played junior varsity basketball last year and was on the varsity squad this year. She likes the distinction between the two sports.

“You’re constantly running and fighting for the ball, and in softball it’s kind of intense but being a pitcher you get to go at your own pace,” Alvarez said.

Sahuarita lost in the first round of the Class 4A Division II state tournament to Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain 3-2 last year.

“Softball is a game where, fortunately, pitching is the name of the game,” Fanning said. “When she takes the circle with the ability she has, I think the sky’s the limit.”

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