SOFTBALL: GHS pitcher Lira inks her name to play for Division I St. Mary’s

Sarah-Lorraine Lira, center, poses with GHS head coach, Julie

GHS pitcher Sarah-Lorraine Lira is an imposing figure in the
circle with a laser-like fastball and a knack for making the big
play.
GHS pitcher Sarah-Lorraine Lira is an imposing figure in the circle with a laser-like fastball and a knack for making the big play.

But with a pen in her hand and a National Letter of Intent in front of her, Lira quivered as she signed her name to play for the St. Mary’s College Gaels next year.

“I’m so nervous,” the senior playfully murmured to about 40 teammates, friends, coaches and family gathered inside the GHS gym to watch the big moment Thursday.

“It has been a lot of work, traveling, cost, family effort and commitment on Sarah’s part,” Lira’s dad Robert said of his daughter’s path from Little League to the collegiate level.

“I also got to spend a lot of quality time with my daughter,” he added.

Lira verbally committed to the Division I, Pacific Coast Softball Conference members prior to her junior year at GHS.

“I really liked the size of the school, it’s small, and the fact that it’s close to home,” said Lira, a 2009-10 Tri-County Athletic First-Team selection.

“I’ve talked with the coaches and players many times. I will go in knowing that I will learn so much.”

Last season, the Gaels (30-23) earned their first PCSC title in program history to qualify for the 2010 NCAA Regional Tournament.

The Gaels went 0-2 in the regionals, suffering defeats to UCLA and Fresno State.

“I think she will bring her love of playing softball to the next level,” GHS head coach Julie Berggren said. “And it’s so close to home, which is great for the rest of us.”

Lira, who still has one more season to go with the Mustangs, dominated opposing hitters during her junior campaign. Lira went 10-6 with a stellar 1.15 earned run average, striking out 84 in 97.2 innings pitched.

Seeing time at first base as well, Lira batted .385, including two home runs and 14 RBI.

During a short speech, Robert recounted the moment Sarah-Lorraine began Little League and the long road the sport as led the family down.

“When I was little, I never thought about this,” Sarah-Lorraine said. “This is real, this is life. I’m really excited.”

Lira, a three-year varsity player, also earned the TCAL’s Freshman of the Year in 2008-09.

As for her senior season,

“We are going to be good,” she said.

Leave your comments