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East senior helps freshman prepare for future starting role (w/video)

By Julie Garcia
March 13, 2014 at 6:01 p.m.
Updated March 12, 2014 at 10:13 p.m.

Victoria East freshman Dakotah Peterson, left, and senior Alisha Quinterro, right, are both pitchers on the Lady Titans softball team and are helping each other become better pitchers.

One is left-handed; the other is right-handed.

One likes to pitch low and fast while the other throws high and quick.

One is a senior playing her last season as a Lady Titan while the other is biding time at first base until her opportunity comes to take over the pitcher's circle.

And they both have the same birthday - Feb. 3.

Alisha Quinterro, a senior, has led Victoria East to a district championship and more than one trip to the playoffs in the last three seasons.

Dakotah Peterson, a freshman, comes from a strong softball tradition set by her mother, who played first base at the collegiate level in Fresno.Dakotah took a few years off to focus on volleyball but returned in the eighth grade to reclaim her spot in the pitcher's circle.

Victoria East's two pitchers, while different in their approach, have the same goals for the 2014 season: a strong showing in District 30-4A and a chance at representing Victoria in the postseason.

Consistent and composed

Quinterro has been the starting pitcher since her sophomore season for the Lady Titans. There is no secondary sport, part-time job or other extracurricular activities for her.

Quinterro, along with the rest of her team, spent her last high school spring break at practice preparing for Friday's game against Beeville.

The tone of the game is set by the pitcher, Quinterro said at practice Thursday.

"It really does start at the mound," she said while waiting to bat. "If the pitcher is not having a good day, it's up to the teammates to keep her up instead of letting everything get down."

When Quinterro arrived on the inaugural East softball team, she had two solid pitches. That repertoire now includes six pitches that are a mix of fast and slow.

"In the offseason, we really focused on movement in our pitches," she said. "It's really important to keep the batters off-balance and keep them guessing at the plate."

First-year head coach Bethany King has been working with Quinterro for two years.

"In the past two years, she has changed from throwing hard and fast to being able to throwithard and break it into you before it reaches you," King said about her starting pitcher's style. "She has a good mix of off-speed, so you don't know what's coming at you."

Fresh and fast

Though most of her games are spent guarding first base, Peterson prefers to pitch. Besides being fun, pitching involves a level of control, she said.

Before the Lady Titans began District 30-4A play, Peterson had the opportunity to take control. In a relief appearance for Quinterro, Peterson got her first taste of varsity softball against Tuloso-Midway.

However, when Peterson returned to pitching, she didn't find it as easy as before.

"Pitching wasn't the same, and it was frustrating," Peterson said. "I was good at pitching, and when I came back, I wasn't so good."

Much like riding a bicycle, Peterson found her groove again, and by the time she joined the varsity team, she had two pitches down pat.

Since then, she's been working on four more with the help of King and by observing Quinterro.

"(Quinterro's) been a good example for me in how to throw pitches and how to run things next year because I'll be the only pitcher or one of the only pitchers," Peterson said. "She has really good composure."

Peterson is her own biggest critic, said King, who coached Peterson in pitching for many years before becoming her team's coach.

"It's a good thing because some kids will throw a bad game and not really care about it," King said. "She loves the game so much and tries to be the best she can be all the time, so she gets frustrated."

Peterson admits to allowing small errors to become major problems during a game.

"I'm getting better during the season if I don't get down on myself," she said.

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