Just two weeks into her senior season, East Union High's Erin Arevalo is in a familiar spot -- leading the state in strikeouts.
She was California's strikeout queen in 2007, with 430 in 205 innings. That helped Arevalo earn a scholarship from the University of Georgia and made her The Bee's Softball Player of the Year.
It also set up a potential monster senior season for Arevalo, if she can handle the expectations.
That wasn't a problem as a junior, as Arevalo's reputation as a strikeout artist made her a must-see pitcher late in the season.
The strikeout watch officially began last week, when the muscular right-hander struck out a career-high 26 in a 1-0, 12-inning win over Casa Roble. Her previous high of 21 came in a seven-inning win over Oakdale last year.
Her strikeout total is at 149 in 65 innings this season, lifting her career "K" total to 1,175 -- making her the first Stanislaus District pitcher to top 1,000. She has the opportunity to finish as high as sixth on the state's all-time list for strikeouts, if she collects 371 this year.
East Union coach Brian Goulart is looking for more than just great pitching from Arevalo, however.
After falling to Bear River in last year's Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV final, getting one hit in the title game, Goulart has made run production a priority.
"Erin is obviously our everyday pitcher, but we did move her to fourth in the order this season because we have hitters surrounding her this year that we didn't last season," Goulart said.
"Erin is an RBI producer, so we wanted to put good baserunners and hitters in front of her as well as great hitters behind her to force teams to pitch to her."
Two of those hitters are all-district center fielder Brionna Goulart and second baseman Alicia Cook, and a key arrival is freshman catcher Brittany LaMar.