Danielle Lung: Female Player of the Year
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Clovis High School junior softball player Danielle Lung accepted the Guz Zernial Female Player of the Year award on February 2. She received the honor from the Fresno Hot Stove which is run by the Fresno Grizzlies. They along with the media select a player of the year based on his or her season last year and what they expect to see from the players this year.
This high achievement is not just handed out to any ball player. Only one high school baseball player and one high school softball player in the Valley per year win this award.
“I didn’t realize how great of a thing it was until I noticed the people on stage and the great people they are,” said Lung. “It was a great thing.”
One of those great people that Lung referred to was Mark Gardner, a Clovis High alum, former MLB pitcher, and current bullpen coach for the San Francisco Giants.
Being named female player of the year is a tribute to Lung’s talent when it comes to the game.
“She’s probably the most dominant pitcher in the Valley,” said CHS softball coach Mike Noel. “In our game of softball that means a lot. It allows us to not be perfect the whole game because we know she can bail us out of situations that are tough because of how dominant she is, so we feel very fortunate to have her on our side every game we go into.”
Lung is the starting pitcher for the Cougar’s softball team and has been in that role for the past three years. She has pitched over 300 innings and the batting average against her is only .161. Her career highlights include pitching the Cougars to the 2015 Central Section Championship over Central.
“She’s been our number one pitcher since her freshmen year,” said Noel. “She gives us a chance to win every game.”
Being such a dominant player on the field is what made her qualified to receive the high distinction of female player of the year. She has 412 strikeouts along with a career won-loss record of 43-5.
“We can count her,” said junior and teammate Jordyn Martinez. “We know she’s not going to mess things up.”
Lung has 16 shutouts, a no hitter, and a perfect game all under her belt going into the 2017 season. Having an athlete with the amount of talent that Lung brings to the game brings a lot of attention to the Clovis High softball program.
“I think it’s good for our program. It brings recognition to the program. I think it’s exciting for the girls to be a part of something special and Danielle definitely adds to that,” said Noel. “She’s well known throughout the state. I think that’s fun for all of us.”
The bond between the athletes on the Clovis softball team just adds to the already recognizable talent that Lung brings and the team brings as a whole.
“We’re close so that helps,” said Martinez. “I’ve been catching for her for three or four years now so we know each other pretty well. She knows what I can do and I know what she can do.”
With softball season quickly approaching, Noel is anticipating big things for this upcoming season.
“I think we have a veteran team that has been through lots of ups and downs and I think that that’s just going to help us in the long run,” said Noel. “We’re going to expect big things like we do every year. We’re pretty fortunate to have the group of girls we have and I think that can go a long way.”