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2015 Softball pitcher of the year: Taylor McQuillin, Mission Viejo
She will go down as one of the most dominant pitchers in both Orange County and CIF history.
Taylor McQuillin set all-time marks in the Southern Section for career victories (103) and consecutive wins (35) in addition to capturing a Division 2 title and a Gatorade National Player of the Year Award along the way.
But in the eyes of Mission Viejo coach Troy Ybarra, those achievements won’t be the legacy the senior left-hander leaves behind.
The work ethic she demonstrated in earning those honors is.
“What she’s done off the field reflects she’s done on it,” Ybarra said. “No one knows that (Taylor) and (catcher) Kayleen Shafer have gone to pitching lessons together after school since they were in the eighth grade.
“Every day they’re putting in the work in to perfect that connection… It’s been a tremendous honor to coach and be apart of that.”
After reeling off 30 consecutive wins and coming one controversial call away from finishing with a perfect season, McQuillin is the Register’s pitcher of the year for a second consecutive season.
“I’m really proud of our team,” the Diablos ace said after a 1-0 loss to Yucaipa in last week’s Division 2 championship game. “We came out here to finish a war that we started at the beginning of the season, and it just didn’t fall our way. … I wouldn’t have done it with a different group of girls, though.”
In her junior and senior campaign combined, McQuillin posted a remarkable 55-2 record in her starts.
Both losses - to Pacifica in 2014 and Yucapia last week - were one-run affairs.
“She’s consistently dominant, and her endurance is unbelievable,” Ybarra added. “She threw every inning of every game her freshman year. That was a concern of mine coming into this season, but both Taylor and her mom assured me, ‘Nope, she’s going to be OK.’”
There was plenty of ice along the way, just like there were strikesout. In 206 innings, McQuillin fanned a career-high 389 batters and a turned in a miniscule 0.31 ERA against one of the most difficult schedules any team faced on the West Coast. In addition, she batted .352.
McQuillin and Diablos teammate Alyssa Palomino will start their college careers at Arizona in the fall.
The Diablos’ senior class - McQuillin, Palomino, Shafer and Bailey Roberson - posted a 106-10 record over the past four years. McQuillin had shutouts in 59 of those outings.
“I’ve been able to watch this group grow since they were kids,” Ybarra said. “At our banquet, the JV team and even the freshmen were emotional – started crying – when talking about this group.
“They all loved this team and they inspired them all to get better. And now they see the kind of hard work it takes to get to this level.”
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