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The Los Angeles Times 1997 ALL-VALLEY Softball Team
| PITCHER OF THE YEAR

Durazo Accentuates the Positives

June 18, 1997|LAUREN PETERSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

GRANADA HILLS — If disappointment lingers for Sandra Durazo of Kennedy High, so do pleasant memories.

There were the two no-hitters, the 18-strikeout performance against Cleveland, the 15 strikeouts against Carson in the semifinals, the 14-game winning streak for the Golden Cougars, the sec1869505568 It all added up to a second consecutive appearance in the City Section 4-A championship for Kennedy, another stellar season for Durazo, and her second straight selection as The Times' Valle2032169065 The accomplishments are what Durazo uses to maintain a positive approach to the only thing about the 1997 season that left her less than satisfied: the Golden Cougars' 2-1, eight-inning los1931506799 "We worked hard and we got a lot farther than I thought we would at the beginning of the season," Durazo said. "At least we got to the final, and we had a lot of fun getting there. But I wish we could have won it. It was a little disappointing for me because I really wanted to win."

Most of the time, the Golden Cougars did, and Durazo played a large part in their success.

A senior right-hander, Durazo pitched every inning for Kennedy (21-5). She posted a 0.45 earned-run average and struck out 306 batters while allowing just 76 hits and 23 walks in 187 2/3 innings.

Durazo, a four-year varsity player who will attend San Diego State on a softball scholarship in the fall, was also an offensive force. She batted .475 with four doubles and team-highs of three home runs, 22 runs batted in and 23 stolen bases.

Durazo's success came despite some changes early in the season.

Kennedy football assistant Eric Moorman took over as softball coach. Three starters from the 1996 team transferred to Granada Hills, including Durazo's catcher for three seasons, Jennifer Del Real. Durazo and the new catcher, junior Carin Garcia, needed time to adjust.

"Carin and me had to get on the same page," Durazo said. "At first, I was shaking her off a lot, but toward the end of the season, I hardly did it at all. It just took a little time."

That's all it took to gain perspective on the title-game defeat.

"The day after the championship game, I was like, 'I can't believe we lost,' " Durazo said. "But now when I look back on it, I know it was a really good season. I know we accomplished a lot."

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