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Sidelines Spotlight: Rachel Rodriguez

Central High School had never won a valley softball title until last year and now the Grizzlies have won two in a row. They have a legitimate chance at a three-peat because nearly their entire team comes back, including star pitcher Rachel Rodriguez.

Bullard isn't the only team Rachel Rodriguez beat this year, but it is the last.

"I'm feeling so ecstatic that we did this," she said.

In a couple of years, she could be doing the same thing to Fresno State, pitching for Boise State.

"I didn't really have any standards as to where I wanted to go," said the valley champion pitcher. "I just wanted it to be a great school and Boise is obviously a great school."

Rodriguez gave the Broncos a verbal commitment long before she led Central to Thursday's 2-1 D-I valley championship win over Bullard, before she was named the Gus Zernial Female Player of the Year in February at the Fresno Grizzlies Hot Stove Gala.

Just add that to her list of accomplishments, which also includes a perfect game in March...against Bullard again.

"Going to Boise State, it's obviously exciting for me," she said. "I'm just gonna try to do my best as I can, just keep working hard and getting better every year."

"I'll be honest with you...she was a really good player last year but I ended up having the hottest pitcher in the valley last year, with Lindsey Clarkson," said head coach Scott Gorton.

"But Rachel has stepped into that role this year and filled it perfectly. She has been amazing all year...She showed why she is going to a four-year university."

Rodriguez said she considered a few other four-year universities: Cal Poly, Georgia Southern and New Mexico.

She finished this season with a 0.82 ERA.

"Going into this game it was a little bit different because the spotlight was on me. I think Lindsey is a great pitcher and I'm just so happy I could have done the same thing that she did."

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