May 1, 2009
By John Philip Wyllie
For the last four seasons Andrea Pizano has been a fixture at second base for the Chula Vista Spartans Softball Team. Born into a family in which her grandmother, mother, several aunts and a few cousins played softball, it is not surprising that she began her playing career at the age of six. Now a senior, Pizano is a team captain, a sure-handed middle infielder and the second best hitter on the team.
“In four years Andrea has only made six errors at second base. At the plate, as our number two hitter, she sets the table for the team often by bunting to get on base and then by stealing a lot of bases. Coming into this year she was up in the air about whether she was even going to play, but she decided to go for it. Now (with some personal matters sorted out) she has decided to make her senior year an outstanding one. She is having a great season. Her batting average is the second best on the team,” said Spartan coach, Jackson Wyatt.
Pizano has played a few other sports, but none of them compare in her eyes to softball.
“In softball you can field, catch, hit and run. Softball requires a variety of skills. I love the feeling of being a part of this team. It is the best team that I have ever been on. Everybody is strong in hitting and pretty good in the field. We work together very well and we communicate. I think we have a grown a lot over the years,” Pizano said.
How that will translate in the standings remains to be seen. The Spartans are just getting into their Mesa League season and have to contend with perennially powerful teams like Hilltop, Bonita Vista, and Eastlake. They went about .500 in their preliminary non-league games and won their Mesa League opener earlier this week.
While Wyatt is proud of what Pizano has accomplished on the field he is prouder of what she has done in the classroom. When she graduates in June, she will be the first person in her family to obtain a high school diploma. And she isn’t stopping there.
“One of our main focal points is getting these kids started in the college process,” Wyatt explained. “My wife and our assistant coach is also a college counselor and we do college counseling with them from sophomore year on. Andrea was thinking only terms of junior college for several years, but this year she came in motivated to go to a four-year school. We got her into SDSU and she applied for an EOP grant (Educational Opportunity Program) and received it. So, this summer she will be spending her summer in their orientation program from 8 a.m. 2 p.m. and then she will become a regular freshman in the fall.”
Pizano is just the latest success story among Wyatt’s college-bound players. Through his guidance students that might not have considered college a realistic possibility are now getting in and going on to four-year degrees. While teaching softball fundamentals and playing winning softball remains a team focus athletics take a back seat here to academics.