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MAKE ROOM FOR 25

Arevalo has her jersey retired alongside Lancer legends Brooks, Likes and Kron

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MAKE ROOM FOR 25

Former East Union softball star Erin Arevalo will have her No. 25 hang alongside other retired jerseys in the Dalben Center foyer. Above her are Danelle (Liles) Bishop’s No. 3, Matthew Zaragoza Van...

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED May 20, 2014 1:50 a.m.

Fresh off leading East Union’s softball team to a Sac-Joaquin Section championship in 2004, head coach Brian Goulart was told that an incoming freshman and travel-ball ace named Erin Alvarado could soon be a Lancer.

So on the first day of school in the fall of 2004, Goulart went to the attendance office to see if her name was on the roster.

To his dismay it wasn’t.

Lucky for him, Erin Arevalo’s was.

Goulart shared his earliest encounters with Arevalo during a special presentation staged in her honor Monday at Dalben Center, where the 2008 alumna officially had her No. 25 retired. 

He recalled when his coaching staff and players watched in awe as this unknown, 5-foot-10 eighth grader launched fastballs into her father Carlos’ mitt at Northgate Softball Complex.

“We were in practice and all of the sudden we hear this whack … whack … whack,” Goulart said. “She was throwing gas at her dad. All the girls on the varsity team who were section champions were saying, ‘Who is that girl?’”

Well, it wasn’t Erin Alvarado.

Erin Arevalo, however, can now be mentioned in the same breath as other Lancer greats. She is the fifth East Union athlete to have her jersey retired, following former basketball stars Scott Brooks, Danelle (Liles) Bishop and Gary Kron. Matthew Zaragoza Van Gelderen, who died from a head injury sustained during a football game in 2005, had his jersey retired posthumously. 

“We’ve never seen a pitcher with the impact that Erin has had in this entire area,” Goulart said in his speech. “She is truly in the record books among the greatest softball players … (but) she is more than that. She is a wonderful young lady and we are so fortunate to have had her come through our program.”

Arevalo was East Union’s starting pitcher from 2005-08. In that time she led the Lancers to two Valley Oak League championships and two title-round appearances in the SJS Division IV playoffs. 

As a freshman she earned the Valley Oak League’s Pitcher of the Year award, the first of many in her decorated four-year career. She was then named the league’s MVP in each of the next three years, and as a senior she made the Cal-Hi Sports first team and EA Sports second team. 

Some of Arevalo’s career stats accumulated while at East Union (85 wins, 59 shutouts, 21 no-hitters, seven perfect games) are engraved beneath her framed jersey, but most impressive of all are her 1,518 strikeouts that rank her fifth all-time in California.

“I was excited, of course,” Arevalo said of her reaction to having her jersey retired by her alma mater. “How often does this really happen for anybody?

“I’ve gone back and seen the numbers along with the scrapbooks of all the newspaper articles my mom put together. I got to let it sink it and I did pretty well.”

That she went on to do greater things beyond her high school career made her a shoo-in for the honor.

Arevalo played for the University of Georgia on scholarship and was an immediate contributor. The Bulldogs made their first appearance in the Women’s College World Series in 2009, and Arevalo was credited with a win against Washington while pitching in relief.

Arevalo enjoyed her best college season as a senior, when she was selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches All-America Third team. Many of her single-season stats from that year (27-9 record, 1.40 ERA, 270 strikeouts) as well as her career are in the Georgia record books. She called it “the greatest four years of my life.”

Arevalo played for the Akron Racers of the National Pro Fastpitch league last summer. She may continue to play professionally in Australia this fall.

Now 23, Arevalo hopes to pass on some of her wisdom gained as an NCAA Division I athlete. She lives in Atlanta and offers pitching lessons to younger players. It is her dream to serve as a pitching coach at the college level.

“Don’t stop working on your craft and in the classroom,” Arevalo said while addressing student-athletes during before East Union’s spring sports awards social Monday. “The success I had didn’t come easy. My dad forced me to practice all the time but it was all worth it. I got to play on the biggest stage of college softball. I made it a goal for myself to be an All-American before I graduated and I was able to do that.”

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