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Patient Pierson: Cibola ace named 2012 Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club Softball Player of the Year
Becoming the Cibola softball team's ace pitcher doesn't happen overnight.
It takes time, dedication and a lot of studying. But when the time is right, a new Raiders pitcher will get her turn in the circle.
That patience paid off for senior Jackie Pierson, who got her chance to define herself as a dominant arm for the Raiders and earn the Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club's 2012 Softball Player of the Year honor.
“I was excited, I didn't know if I was going to get it because there's such good competition,” Pierson said. “It's good to finish my senior year with being the player of the year. Hopefully I can keep up the good work.”
Pierson led the Raiders into the postseason and helped them reach the top eight in the state tournament with a 1.16 ERA and 13-4 record on the year.
Outside of the circle, Pierson was also a force to be reckoned with, causing opposing pitchers to sweat at her .403 batting average. She had 27 hits, five home runs and drove in 28 RBIs in her final season with the Raiders.
“I really think that everyone is looking at her pitching — which is wonderful, don't get me wrong — but her main asset is her bat,” Raiders coach Shelly Baumann said. “I know right now we're talking about her pitching a lot but I think she has true qualities in her hitting. So she's going to go to AWC (Arizona Western College) and I wish her well. She's got a lot of support from her family and we'll always be there for her, too.”
Pierson was the understudy to Cibola grad Sarah Ray — the ace when she joined the team. Pierson said she gives a lot of credit to Ray for helping her develop as a pitcher.
The future of the Raiders pitching staff was left up to Pierson after Ray left. She stepped up, guiding teammate Lezlie Morris in her journey to be the next starter.
“Jackie was always in the lineup to hit, waiting to be the starter,” Baumann said. “You always have to have two great pitchers on your team. She was sort of waiting in the wings but she was ready to go her junior year. It pays off; you can't just jump into the fire to begin with. I think she learned a lot from (Ray) and took her time and was ready to go. She stepped in there and did a wonderful job.”
Pierson's softball career began at the will of her father, Edward. Even though she wasn't crazy about playing at first, she's thankful to him for getting her involved.
In turn, her family is glad to see that she has become successful and that all of that hard work was worth it.
“We're very proud of her,” Edward Pierson said. “She's put in a lot of work and a lot of long nights — a lot of blood, sweat and tears.”
Pierson's softball career will continue at AWC next spring, but she will step onto the field with the lessons she learned at Cibola.
“I'll just always remember ‘head, heart, gut.' That's what Ms. Baumann always says. Play with your head, your heart and your gut and just leave it all on the field.”
Erin Redmond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6880. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YSErinRedmond.