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Cambrie Hazel confused her coach as she rounded third base.
"The first home run she hit, when she hit third base, she says, 'I'm not a P.O.,' " said Spanish Fork coach Don Andrews, who was in the third-base coaching box. "I was like, 'What's that?' Then I remembered, you're not a pitcher only.
"And she's not. She's hit a couple of home runs. She's not a pitcher only, and she reminds me all the time."
Hazel's time at the plate has been relatively sparse over the Dons' two-year championship run, but the lanky 5-foot-11 pitcher has been a nightmare for opposing batters since she became the Dons' primary pitcher. She earned the win in the last two Class 4A state championship games and hasn't missed a beat in the circle.
She went 24-2 with 225 strikeouts and a 1.07 ERA last season and only allowed three hits in the 4A championship game win over Maple Mountain. Hazel was 20-3 with 194 strikeouts and a miniscule 0.74 ERA in 2015, a year that also ended with a title contest win over the Golden Eagles.
Her numbers this season are pretty much on par an 11-0 record with 1.27 ERA. But Andrews and Hazel both believe her best pitching still is ahead.
"Hopefully when we get to state, I'll be at my best," Hazel said.
Andrews said that her participation in other sports may be a contributor to slow starts, by their standards, in softball. Hazel also played volleyball and basketball for the Dons.
"I tell you right now, she's a smooth athlete," Andrews said. "If she had chosen basketball, she'd be on scholarship somewhere."
Hazel, who describes herself as "tall and lurpy," looks more like a stereotypical basketball player, but her coach says she uses that to her advantage.
"The length that she has, and her hands if you look at her hands, then you can understand how she can do the things she does with a softball," Andrews said. "The longer your fingers, you can just spin it better."
Hazel plans to continue pitching at Dixie State University. And even though Hazel says she's "scared" about moving on from high school, Andrews doesn't think she should be at least not on the softball field.
"I think she'll do just fine. I think that Randy [Simkins], the softball coach down there, I think he's about 6-8," Andrews said. "He's got big hands. He'll be able to work with her. She's got a great repertoire, don't get me wrong, but she don't trust them like she does her main pitches."
And, as she likes to remind her coach, she can swing the bat.
The at-bats for Hazel, who had only nine plate appearances in 2016, have increased dramatically on a team that has plenty of new parts. Spanish Fork again is ranked No. 1 in 4A, and Hazel has contributed plenty to the offense. She's batting .426 in 51 at-bats. But that's just icing. She knows her top priority as the Dons chase their third consecutive state title.
"You just have to trust your pitches, trust your team," Hazel said.
School • Spanish Fork
Year • Senior
Position • Pitcher
Record • 11-0
ERA • 1.27
Of note • Was the winning pitcher in the past two Class 4A state title games.