A preseason rib injury turned Baylee Corbello into a hitter only for most of the season, but when crunch time rolled around she was back at home in the pitching circle, leading Sam Houston to a third consecutive state championship by striking out 16 in a shutout win over Mount Carmel in the Class 5A title game. Corbello finished the season a perfect 7-0 in the circle and batted .459 to earn a second consecutive Miss Softball award as the state’s most outstanding player. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Friday, May 31, 2013 6:06 PM
LAKE CHARLES (AP) — A preseason rib injury turned Baylee Corbello into a hitter only for most of the season.
But when playoffs began the senior was back at home in the pitching circle, leading Sam Houston High to a third consecutive state softball title. Corbello struck out 16 in an 8-0 shutout win over Mount Carmel Academy in the Class 5A title game.
Corbello finished the season 7-0 in the circle and batted .459 to earn her second consecutive Farm Bureau/Miss Softball award, which is given annually by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
John Curtis pitcher Katie Brignac, who led the Patriots to an undefeated season and second straight Class 2A title, was runner-up. Corbello is only the third two-time winner of the award, joining Teurlings Catholic's Beth Provost (2001-02) and Curtis' Ashley Brignac (2006-07).
Corbello's injury limited her to a designated hitter role for most of the regular season. While unable to throw, Corbello served as a guide to her replacement, freshman Tanner Wright, who went undefeated in District 3-5A play and earned honorable mention all-state honors.
"It was something different, but at the same time it helped me as a player," Corbello said of not being able to pitch.
"I got to help Tanner at the beginning of the season, and that helped me as a pitcher. I look it as a blessing. Since I was limited at practice, I would help Tanner with spins, talk with her if she had a question, I was basically her pitching coach.... She improved quickly and should not have a problem next year."
Corbello said she had help from an elder pitcher before she took over in the circle for the Broncos, leading Sam Houston to the 4A title game as a freshman in 2010.
"I was friends with Brianna Granger, the pitcher before I came up (from eighth grade), so I was already preparing that year to pitch because I knew I had to. I think I was well-prepared. I play on a high-quality tournament team, I had been playing against California teams and all the best teams that summer so it was not like I was intimidated. Brianna had seen me pitch and just told me to keep working and stay focused."
Once Corbello was cleared to pitch, she quickly regained her form, beating Class C state champion Hackberry 1-0, striking out 12 in a one-hit win over Notre Dame and striking out 17 in a 2-1, extra innings win over Teurlings Catholic. In the playoffs, she pitched no-hitters in each of the first two games, wins over Pineville and No. 3 seed West Monroe.
"It felt like I had never stopped," she said. "I hadn't pitched in four months, and to be able to come back and be accurate like I was, that is how you know it was from God. I was so happy."
Corbello said the degree of difficulty this season made this year's championship memorable.
"This was the hardest road we had to take in my four years, we were definitely the underdog going into it," she said.
"I am so happy my team proved to everybody that we could be the best, that it was not some fluke that we won. We beat the top teams in the state to earn the title. It was probably the most exciting championship, because it was our senior year. We had an amazing coach (Beth Domingue) and I had amazing teammates. That was rewarding."
Corbello has signed with LSU. She said she hopes she is remembered at Sam Houston for her team-first attitude.
"I want people to remember me as someone that was always excited to play, was a good team player and a leader," she said.
1997: Ashleigh Ivey, Barbe-Lake Charles
1998: Micah Barbato, Lafayette
1999: Mandy Mullins, Sacred Heart-Ville Platte
2000: Sarah Meadors, Denham Springs
2001: Beth Provost, Teurlings Catholic-Lafayette
2002: Beth Provost, Teurlings Catholic-Lafayette
2003: Britni Bowen, Sterlington
2004: Leah Heintze, St. Amant
2005: Kellie Eubanks, St. Amant
2006: Ashley Brignac, John Curtis
2007: Ashley Brignac, John Curtis
2008: Lauren Crane, Vandebilt Catholic
2009: Lauren Wilson, Belle Chasse
2010: Christina Hamilton, Rosepine
2011: Courtney Ivey, Oak Hill
2012: Baylee Corbello, Sam Houston
2013: Baylee Corbello, Sam Houston