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The Preps : Girls’ Athlete of the Week : Confident Cook Dishes Up Long-Brewing Upset

Times Staff Writer

Kelly Cook, Brea-Olinda High School senior, has come a long way since she took the mound for the Wildcats as a scared freshman three years ago.

“That was a hard year,” said Cook, a 5-foot-8, 130-pound right-hander. “The caliber of play was so much greater and I was not used to playing with that good a player. I had a whole lot of pressure.”

Now, armed with the confidence and experience of a senior and a variety of breaking pitches, she is feeling less pressure and having fun as well as success.

Cook, The Times’ athlete of the week, has picked up 10 victories in 13 decisions and helped Brea improve to 10-4 with two Orange League victories last week.

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“I know what I can control and what I can’t control, what I am capable of doing and what is out of my hands now,” Cook said.

Wednesday, she showed she could control an impressive array of breaking pitches as well as her bat in a 3-0 Orange League upset of Western, third-ranked in last week’s Southern Section 4-A poll.

She struck out six and allowed just three hits and went two for three with her first high school home run, a double and two runs scored.

“Probably the best game I have seen her pitch in two years was the Western game,” Brea Coach Sharen Caperton said. “Six strikeouts against Western is just fantastic. She kept them so off-balance that she did not have to overpower them.

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“She was throwing every pitch she had and they were way out in front of it, under it and on top. She really finessed them.”

Cook has a 0.56 ERA and 138 strikeouts through 96 innings, but she does not measure her performance by strikeouts.

“I look at how well my pitches are working and where they are hitting the ball off me,” she said. “If they were hitting line drives, then maybe I would be concerned, but they were hitting on the ground or popping it up. They didn’t get very many good cuts off me. It was probably one of the best days I have had where everything worked the way it was supposed to.”

How big was the victory against Western?

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“Western was the team we needed to beat to have a chance at the league title,” Cook said.

The victory was even more special for Cook, a .194 hitter who had hit home runs for her travel team, the Brea Eagles, but had never homered in her high school career.

“I knew after I reached third base that it was a home run,” Cook said. “It was a changeup. It was just right down the middle; it was just there. It was kind of like it said, ‘Hit me! Hit me!’ So I did.”

TOP PERFORMERS

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Jennifer Brundage pitched her third consecutive no-hitter and scored the winning run on an error in Irvine’s 1-0 victory over Dana Hills Friday. She shut out El Toro, 1-0, Wednesday.

Linda Lunceford hit a three-run homer to help Trabuco Hills to a 6-0 victory over Orange Wednesday. She pitched a one-hitter Thursday, striking out 13 in a 7-0 victory over Costa Mesa.

Isela Duque had a home run, triple, single and six RBIs Tuesday as Whittier Christian defeated Orange Lutheran, 13-3.

Kanna Lee of Savanna threw the discus a school-record 113 feet 6 1/2 inches Tuesday in Savanna’s 86-30 victory over Anaheim.

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Jayme Ondracek (5-0) pitched a perfect game, striking out five, and was five for five in Tustin’s 19-0 victory over Newport Harbor Wednesday.

Chris Redman pitched a one-hitter in Villa Park’s 7-0 shutout of Santa Ana Valley Tuesday and a no-hitter in a 5-2 victory over Foothill Thursday.

Amy Shaw of Capistrano Valley swam this season’s fastest county time in the 200-yard freestyle (1:49.52) and also won the 500 freestyle with the county’s second fastest time this season (4:53.55) in an 89-67 victory over Mission Viejo Tuesday.

Kelly Cook

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Brea-Olinda High School

Position: Pitcher

Height, Weight, Class: 5-8, 130, Senior

Last Week: Cook pitched a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 3-0 victory over Valencia Tuesday. She came back Wednesday to pitch a 3-0 victory over Western.

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Season: Cook (10-3, 2-0) has allowed 38 hits and six earned runs, and struck out 138 of 358 batters in 96 innings.


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