Versatile Pezzato leads Shawnee

Posted: March 22, 2013

Jacklyn Pezzato is a threat no matter where she is on the softball field.

In the circle, she is Shawnee's ace starting pitcher. As a junior last season, she went 19-3 with a 0.93 ERA for a team that was 23-4.

In the batter's box, she is the Renegades' leadoff hitter. She batted .518 in 2012 and broke Shawnee's single-season hits record with 44 and the school's single-season runs record with 37.

When she's not pitching, she plays third base, the "hot corner," arguably the toughest defensive position to play.

"She has the hardest work ethic of any kid I've ever coached," said Paula Escudero, who enters her 14th year as Shawnee coach. "She's extremely determined. She's a warrior."

As a starting pitcher, Pezzato uses a wide variety of pitches to keep batters off balance. She has a riser, a change-up, a drop curve, and a screwball, just to name a few.

"Yeah, it definitely has a lot to do with variety, but it's also dealing with working each day and trying to push myself, and to try to just work the batter," Pezzato said. "Take it one pitch at a time and just do as well as I can."

Being the starting pitcher also helps her at the plate.

She's better prepared for what the pitcher is going to throw at her. That might be another reason that Pezzato owns yet one more Shawnee record: the career doubles mark of 25.

"It's helped me a lot, like picking up on when a pitch is going to break," Pezzato said. "You can kind of look at the spin, and see it out of their hand a lot better. I can also put myself in the mind of the other pitcher and try and figure out what they're going to try and throw me."

Pezzato also thrives in the classroom. The senior, bound for Division III Swarthmore College, is No. 1 in her graduating class.

"It's just a lot of hard work," Pezzato said. "It kind of all works out in the end. It's just mostly time management. I owe a lot to the help my family has given me, too."

That work ethic is part of why Pezzato serves as cocaptain for a team with seven sophomores and a freshman on the varsity roster.

"She's wonderful to coach," Escudero said. "I mean, the last two years I've had a really young team, and this year again, we're young. She does a great job with the younger kids. She's a great role model."

Contact Christian Hetrick at Follow on Twitter @_Hetrick.

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