STOCKTON -- Erin Arevalo's only flaw this season might be that she holds herself to a higher standard, one few pitchers could hope to attain with regularity.
How else can you explain why the East Union High senior criticized her performance on the opening night of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs?
She struck out 34, walked a batter, allowed just six hits and had two shutouts to lead the Lancers into the winners' bracket final.
"I threw much better in the second game. I had better command," said Arevalo, after beating Whitney 2-0 in the second round. "I was all over the place in the first game. I didn't have a lot of energy. I needed sugar."
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Arevalo ate some sweet watermelon and guzzled an orange Gatorade after beating Foothill 5-0 in the opener, and it appeared to provide the boost she needed.
She struck out 18 Whitney batters, setting down the side four times, to raise her state-high total to 462. The Georgia-bound star has 1,488 strikeouts in a four-year varsity career and her two wins boost her career total to 84.
EU (25-4) and defending champ Bear River (27-2) play Friday in a rematch of last year's finalists.
Arevalo credited freshman catcher Brittany Lamar for helping her through the first game.
"Brittany is going to catch anything I throw up there, which is important to a pitcher," Arevalo said. "Otherwise you're worried about what you can throw with a runner on third. It limits you."
EU's Alicia Cook opened the bottom of the fifth with a single and went to second on Rochelle Sellers' bunt. Nycole Teeple hit a ball deep in the hole at short, but as the fielder was getting to the ball, Cook flashed in front of her and the shortstop hesitated -- putting runners at the corners.
Jillian Goulart then lofted a fly to right field and Cook tagged and made a dash for home. With the catcher in the baseline and the ball arriving, Cook slid away from the throw as she scraped the plate with her left hand.
EU made it 2-0 in the sixth, as freshman Cassie Waggy doubled to deep center, went to third on Arevalo's hard single to center and sprinted home on a wild pitch.
Whitney had runners on second and third with one out in the third, but Arevalo struck out the next two. With a runner on second and one out in the sixth, she again ended it with a strikeout.