By Andrea Camarena

Stepping up to the mound as a starting pitcher is no easy task in the world of softball. Pitchers serve as the defensive wall in the game.

Fielding and batting play their roles, but pitching makes the game. In the East Sequoia League, the top teams play across the board. Not every top pitcher plays for the highest ranking team. The following is a breakdown of a few of the top pitchers in the East Sequoia League. Fast balls, change up, drop balls. These high school athletes can do it all and some of them are just getting started.

Amy Noel-Exeter Monarchs

Exeter's Amy Noel is one of the league's leading pitchers with an ERA of 1.20 in her third season as the Monarchs' starting pitcher. Her strike out count for the season has escalated to 34 and she has walked just five batters all season.

In her fourth varsity season, Noel Is averaging five strike outs per game. With an 8-1 league record this season, Noel's biggest strength is her accuracy in hitting her spots said Exeter coach Karen Zeibak.

With her outstanding change-up and off speed pitch, Noel could classify as one of the top three pitchers in league.

The Monarch's relief pitcher, Katelyn Goins is in her second season on varsity.

The junior has one win in league with no losses. She has closed four games this season and specializes in the drop ball.

Alyssa Subia-Exeter Monarchs

Alyssa Subia, a senior, serves as the Exeter's third pitcher and has relieved in one league game. She struck out three batters in three innings. Her strength is her change up, Zeibak said.

Janie Plunkett-Woodlake Tigers

Woodlake's Janie Plunkett goes by JP on the field and has been the Tiger's starting and finishing pitcher in every game in the 2005 season.

She first stepped onto the softball diamond four years ago and has been at the mound for three.

Each time she faces a new batter, Plunkett sets her mind into performance mode. "I need to get this pitch where they told me to," Plunkett said of her mentality at the mound. "If they hit it, my defense is going to get it."

The Tigers have struggled through their season earning a 2-7 league record. Amongst their most challenging contests, Plunkett found her biggest struggle against Exeter, Woodlake's rival school.

But on the flipside, Plunkett remembers Corcoran as the her best pitching effort. "The team felt so in sync," Plunkett said. "Everything went right. We all hit well and won."

Amanda Serda-Lindsay Cardinals

Lindsay is resting its pride on pitcher Amanda Serda this year. "She's an excellent pitcher. The best pitcher I've been associated with here," Lindsay coach Jeff Hall said of Serda. "Our record doesn't show it. She plays when she's hurt and she keeps encouraging the team. We haven't played to our potential."

"She's had a tough go of it," Hall said. The Cardinals have struggled this season. In five games the teams has watched leads slide away in the closing inning for losses.

In a 10-inning game against Coalinga, the Cardinals lost the game after Serda pitched 15 strike outs.

"We're getting beat with errors," Hall said.

"There's not another kid I would pick over her," Hall said. "But she can't do it by herself."

In a recent game against Dinuba, Serda sprained her ankle during the game and still pitched to finish the contest.

Serda's pitching abilities are remarkable despite her record. The team has gone through three catchers in attempts to find one that can catch for her style.

"Certain pitches she can throw but can't find a catcher to catch it," Hall said. "She can more than outthrow our catcher."

And as for her style, she can both finesse batters or overpower them.

The Cardinal's relief pitcher Ana Jauregui has closed two games for Serda.

"She's a great kid," Hall said. "She will do anything to help you win."

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