Escobedo Leads Sun Devils To Pac-10 Championship
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by David Weinberg
As she has all season, Arizona State freshman pitcher Dallas Escobedo posted an impressive performance on Thursday night. The win over No. 11 Stanford gave Arizona State its second Pac-10 title in program history.
With the win, Escobedo moved to 26-3 on the season and improved her ERA to 1.42. And she is just a freshman.
"I feel like I came into Arizona State and really took everything in," Escobedo said. "It is listening to my coach and working hard. Whatever [head coach Clint Myers] says, I think about it and I try to understand every meaning even if he is yelling in my face. There is something good that has to come out of that."
Her collegiate career started with quite an honor, earning Pac-10 Player of the Week following her first week in uniform back in February. Two weeks ago, Escobedo was given the same award for her dominant performance against her rival school, the University of Arizona, leading to a three game sweep of the Wildcats on the road for the first time in program history.
Complimenting her 26 wins this season, Escobedo is second in the Pac-10 with a 1.42 ERA and has gone on to set the freshman record at Arizona State with an impressive 243 strikeouts.
"I worked hard and saw what our coach really expected of me," she said. "I pretty much went out there was like 'Hey, I have been pitching all my life.' So, I have had that same dominant mentality and going with what I trusted in situations, so it just clicked."
Although Escobedo has been playing softball nearly her whole life, she shifted her focus to pitching at the age of nine. Progressively improving into an elite pitcher, Escobedo realized she had a bright future in the circle during her sophomore year in high school.
"I was invited to pitch against the national team that year," she said. "I struck out four of the big time girls and right there I knew I was good."
Escobedo has picked up right where she left off in high school, dominating opposing batters throughout the regular season. She owns the lowest opponent batting average (.169) in the Pac-10.
With the success of Escobedo and the team as a whole, the Sun Devils sit atop not only the Pac-10 standings, but are nationally ranked No. 1 for the first time in three years.
And that is exactly what is most important to Escobedo.
"My individual goal is to get to the team's ultimate goal," Escobedo said. "Working as best as I can, every inning, every pitch, and having confidence in it. Fulfilling everyone's dream is my dream."
It's the camaraderie and dynamic of the Sun Devils that has helped them soar to the top.
For Escobedo, that also helps explain her success in the pitcher's circle.
"They don't treat me like the young girl," she said. "We all pretty much get along. They let me in on secrets, so I take that in and keep it in the back of my memory."
As the top team in the country with one of the best pitchers, Dallas Escobedo and the Arizona State Sun Devils don't want to stop there.
"I want to win a national championship," she said. "We have been working hard and we feel this could be the year."