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Mission Viejo's Palomino sets state record for HRs
MISSION VIEJO - It wasn't the most picturesque of afternoons, but for Mission Viejo’s Alyssa Palomino the day couldn’t have been any better.
Palomino came into Thursday’s South Coast League game against El Toro with 53 home runs for her career and needed one more to set a CIF State record.
She hit two, helping the top-ranked Diablos to a 13-0 dismantling of the visiting Chargers and improved their record to 21-0.
The record-setter came in the second inning. The left-handed hitting Palomino’s bat connected with an Annika Evensen pitch and sent the ball towering over the fence in left field.
“Its honestly just an amazing feeling,” Palomino said of the moment. “My team has been pushing me this whole time and they’ve motivated me to just keep working hard and doing what I do. It’s just an incredible feeling having them behind me and having so many supporters.”
Incredible would also describe Palomino’s performance in her four years at Mission Viejo. As a sophomore, Palomino set the Orange County record for home runs in a season with 18. Last year, she hit 17. She has 13 and counting for her final season.
STATE RECORD: CAREER HOME RUNS
55: Alyssa Palomino, Mission Viejo (2011-current)
53: Alia Williams, Crenshaw (2006-2009)
53: Baillie Kirker, Crescenta (Valley, 2006-2009)
53: Darian Tautalafua, Carson (2009-2012)
50: Shawna Wright, Lancaster (2006-2009)
*National record: 72, Shelby Holley (Pisagh High, Ala.; 2008-11)
“It has just been an honor to have her here with the program these four years,” Diablos coach Troy Ybarra said. “I’ve known her since she was 10 years old. She hit a home run in 10-and-under travel ball over in nationals and it hasn’t stopped since then.”
Palomino passes Alia Williams (Crenshaw, 2006-09), Baillie Kirke (Crescenta Valley, 2006-09) and Darian Tautalafua (Carson, 2009-12) with whom she shared the record before Thursday.
“I look up to all of those people who were ahead of me and I still look up to them,” Palomino said. “It’s just an incredible feeling knowing what I’ve done.”
Teammate Taylor McQuillin struck out 15 in six innings while earning her 94th career victory, which ties her for third place on the state's all-time list, but she made sure to keep the focus on Palomino’s accomplishment.
“The drive, the talent and the ambition that she has is just absolutely amazing and I couldn’t be any more proud of her,” McQuillin said. “Our team is just excited for her.”
The Mission Viejo baseball team gathered in right field to watch her make history.
“Its great to see them come out, and we support them as well,” Palomino said of the baseball team. “It’s really fun to have them out here.”
Palomino’s pair of home runs was part of seven total the Diablos hit against the Chargers (6-17). Sophomore Camryn Ybarra tallied three of those homers, while freshman Terra McGowan and sophomore Bella Loya each hit one.
Palomino and Ybarra smashed back-to-back homers in both the second and fifth inning.
When asked if she would celebrate, Palomino replied, “Probably not. I have hitting lessons tonight, so that is what I’ll be doing.”