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Orange Lutheran's Maddy Dwyer is the Register's Orange County softball pitcher of the year.

O.C. softball pitcher of the year: Orange Lutheran's Maddy Dwyer

STAFF WRITER

ORANGE – It wasn’t the result she had envisioned, and it was clearly not a typical performance for her.

Maddy Dwyer had an off night. It just so happened, that outlier came on the final day of the season.

Orange Lutheran – ranked No. 1 in Orange County at the time – lost to its rival, Mater Dei, 8-2, in the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship game. As the defeated Lancers stood by and watched, the Monarchs celebrated on the field that night with the coveted hardware.

“It was tough to take. It still kind of is,” Dwyer divulged days after the Lancers’ loss. “What helps is being able to realize one game doesn’t define the team. We had so many amazing moments. I think that defines the season more than just the end.”

She’s right.

The Lancers could fill a scrapbook with memories of their highlights, and Dwyer played a leading role in many, if not all of them.

Orange Lutheran’s ace won an Orange County-best 26 games, finished in the top three in the county for strikeouts (173) and shutouts (12), and posted a 1.10 ERA against the area’s elite teams. After such a campaign, Dwyer has been selected by the Register as the Orange County softball pitcher of the year.

“Obviously the last game was a little hard for all of us to take, but I think that looking back on the season I wouldn’t have changed anything,” the junior right-hander said. “Getting to know all these girls on the team so much better has been a wonderful experience. I’m super happy with how we’ve progressed through our journey.”

The Lancers’ expectations were sky high entering the season. Dwyer was an All-County second-team selection her freshman and sophomore years, and she took her game to another level as a junior.

Since bursting onto the scene as a gifted freshman, Dwyer lowered her ERA for the second consecutive season while setting career-highs in strikeouts, innings pitched and wins.

The Stanford-bound righty was named MVP of the Brea Olinda Tournament, and netted most valuable pitcher honors at the Saddleback Valley Tournament and the Michelle Carew Classic.

She tossed a perfect game against state-ranked Amador Valley of Pleasanton in the Carew quarterfinals, and she followed that up two weeks later with a no-hitter against Santa Margarita in a crucial league showdown.

The no-hitter wasn’t Dwyer’s signature performance of the season. That would be her two-hit shutout of Los Alamitos on the road in the Division 1 semifinals. The Lancers had been knocked out of the postseason by the Griffins in 2015.

“It’s been a process, and we really matured a lot mentally over the season,” Lancers coach Steve Miklos explained. “For Maddy and the ones that are coming back, they’ll have some motivation to repeat and finish it next year.”

That remains the silver lining for Dwyer: There’s still one chapter left to be penned in her high school career.

“I think we’re going to be able to carry a lot of what we’ve learned this year into next year,” Dwyer said. “Of course there’s going to be a chip on the shoulder.”

ALL-COUNTY SOFTBALL

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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