Lauren West: Bartow's Ace Cool and Consistent
Sun. June 10, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | By Solange Reyner
Pitcher of the Year: Lauren West. Junior, Bartow. West went 18-3 with 162 strikeouts this season. She also helped the Yellow Jackets get to the state finals after throwing a no-hitter in the semifinals. (Photo by Scott Wheeler | The Ledger)
By SOLANGE REYNER | THE LEDGER
LAKELAND | Lauren West had some rocky outings this season.
On the road to the state tournament, though, the Bartow pitcher had everything working on the mound, kind of like the three elements that make Rice Krispies so enticing: the snap, crackle and pop noise the cereal makes when it hits your milk in the morning.
But West wasn't flamboyant in her outings.
She was stone faced, win or lose, strike out or home run.
"They're kind of trained that way, to be on that mound and not show any emotion. And really, that's what you want," Bartow coach Glenn Rutenbar said. "I always enjoy if I can see a pitcher getting frustrated. We want people to look at you and not be able to tell if you're winning or losing."
West is nonchalant like that.
She did get emotional after Bartow lost in the state title game, but she was apathetic throughout even while giving up two home runs in the outing. That last game, a loss, was a small blip in her phenomenal performance during the playoffs.
The night before, in the state semifinal game, she threw a no-hitter and struck out 11. In three regional playoff games, she struck out 30.
West, a junior, is the 2011-12 PolkPreps.com's softball pitcher of the year. It's her second straight time winning the award.
West went 18-3 this season, striking out 162 and walking 25. She finished the year with a 1.51 ERA, giving up 31 earned runs.
Her state semifinal performance was impressive, mainly because she shut down Tallahassee Lawton Chiles, a team that had 27 home runs all season.
"We weren't prepared for her velocity. She jammed the inside, hit her spots well, and we had a hard time getting our hands through. We haven't faced a pitcher with that type of consistency all season long," Chiles coach Adam Rich said.
And she wasn't aware of her accomplishment. After the game, someone had to tell her that she didn't give up a hit.
"That stuff doesn't matter to me," West said. "I just wanted to win."