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Silent competitor

Senior pitcher helping change culture of West Ranch softball

Posted: April 14, 2009 1:25 a.m.
Updated: April 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch pitcher Shayna Medoff brings a silent but confident leadership to the Wildcats that could help them challenge the Foothill League elite this season. Excelling in her studies as well as in the circle, Medoff keeps everything in perspective and can be a difficult read for opponents on the field.

 
In the circle, West Ranch pitcher Shayna Medoff appears stoic. In many regards, her intensity is reserved for her studies.

The senior currently holds a 4.37 weighted grade point average and has been accepted to UC San Diego, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara to study either engineering or biochemistry.

"(Medoff is) silent, competitive. You will never really know what is going on in her head," describes first-year West Ranch head softball coach Bob Shults. "She is one of those kids that is just really smart."

Don't be fooled by her calm demeanor.

She simply has it all in perspective.

According to Shults, it gets back to the old adage: It's only a game.

So much so that following her sophomore season at Hart, she decided to walk away from high school softball.

She says she just didn't need it, that her focus was on other things, primarily school.

However, she still found a competitive outlet playing travel ball.

But don't misunderstand, she's a fighter.

"I like softball mainly for competition," she says. "I have always competed. I compete with my brother all the time. (Softball) helps to reduce the amount of fighting between my brother and I."

In her sophomore season with the Indians, the young Medoff was absolutely dealing.

In 12 appearances, she compiled a 7-2 record with one save, 107 strikeouts, and a miniscule 0.97 earned run average over 72 total innings. Five of those appearances resulted in complete games, seven in shutouts.

Her numbers were good enough to be the ace at virtually any school - except Hart.

Trapped behind phenom Destiny Rodino and her 20-4 record, 199 stikeouts and 1.63 ERA, Medoff's dominant stuff saw less and less of the field.

"Shayna was a great pitcher for us," says Indians head coach Steve Calendo. "I expect some surprises in the Foothill League, and I expect West Ranch to be real strong."

That season, the Indians lost to Valencia 1-0 in the CIF-Southern Section Division I championship game.

By the time her junior season rolled around, Medoff had decided to hang it up.

The next year, her family had moved and she joined many of her friends at West Ranch.

The urge to play was too much.

Medoff now finds herself in the middle of a culture-changing season.

The Wildcats are standing at 10-6 heading into Foothill League play, a staggering contrast to last season's 5-21 record.

It is a fact that has caught the attention of opposing coaches.

"She is going to keep them in every game," says Valencia head coach Donna Lee. "I have a lot of respect for her."

So far Medoff boasts a 1.70 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 15 starts.

"She definitely works very hard," Shults says. "She wants to win. I know she wants to win, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. I had to get used to it at first. It was hard for me. I'm very emotional and I'm a very emotional type coach. But she is so grounded."

Medoff says she has been this way since she was 9 years old.

She does not let the pressure get to her, even in pressure situations.

That includes winning an Amateur Softball Association U-10 B and U-14 A national championship, both under Shults.

"It is just natural," Medoff says. "I just focus on my movements. I pretty much block out the crowd and all the noises."

It is also the way she also conducts life off the field.


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