Brandy Marlett didn’t win a league title in her first three years as a member of Rancho’s softball team.
She made sure her final chance didn’t get away.
Marlett, who helped the Rams to a 10-0 mark in Northeast League play, was named the league’s pitcher of the year in a coaches’ vote.
“She had so much experience and knowledge of the game,” said Rancho coach Amanda Zunno. “She wanted to make sure that she went out on top and making people realize that this is where Rancho softball should be.”
Marlett split time in the circle with freshman Samantha Pochop, but threw in three of the Rams’ four biggest league games — against second-place Silverado and third-place Green Valley.
In those three games, Marlett posted a 1.65 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 17 innings. She tossed an eight-inning shutout, striking out six, in the Rams’ 1-0 win at Green Valley on April 9.
“She just has a passion for the sport and a passion for Rancho softball,” Zunno said. “She knew she could be a great senior leader, and her presence out there was big for us.”
Marlett also hit .313 (10-for-32) with 10 RBIs in league play, but her leadership on the field might have been her biggest asset and one of the Rams’ greatest weapons.
“She was like an extension of me,” Zunno said. “We have a lot of the same ideas. If I wasn’t telling the team something, she was. She knew what was expected. She pushed us to achieve things we didn’t know we could do.
“I don’t want to (have to) replace her. It will be really hard. She was around the program when her sister played here, and she’s been a part of Rancho softball for almost a decade. She left a legacy for other players. She set the bar high for other athletes that follow.”
Zunno was named the league’s coach of the year, and Green Valley senior outfielder Maggie Manwarren earned most valuable player honors.
In the Southeast League, Foothill senior outfielder Kelsey McFarland, Basic senior outfielder Paige Blake and Coronado sophomore pitcher/outfielder Jaiden Johnson shared player of the year honors. Foothill junior Sarah Penksa was the league’s pitcher of the year, and the Falcons’ Tom Mayes earned coach of the year honors.
In the Northwest League, Palo Verde senior second baseman Melissa Lacro earned player of the year honors, and the Panthers’ Kelly Glass took home coach of the year honors. Shadow Ridge senior Tana Feiner was the league’s pitcher of the year.
In the Southwest League, Centennial shortstop Heather Bowen and Cimarron-Memorial infielder/center fielder Sarah Murphy shared most valuable player honors. Bishop Gorman’s Dayton Yingling was the league’s pitcher of the year. Cimarron’s Steve Gorden earned coach of the year accolades.
In Division I-A, Boulder City pitcher Charlene Masterson earned most valuable player honors, and Faith Lutheran’s John Chilman netted the coach of the year award.
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5230.