Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Week

Kim Scarsella ranks as one of the top pitchers in Northern California. Harold Abend/ESPNHS

Marin pitcher mows down 37 batters on strikeouts in two days and picks a perfect time to get a no-hitter and hit a two-run homer in the same game.

The expression “some things are just meant to be” couldn’t be more appropriate than in the case of scholar-athlete Kim Scarsella from Tamalpais of Mill Valley.

With a 4.2 overall GPA and 4.6 this semester, plus having been a previous All-State selection, Scarsella has been under consideration for being honored as a State Athlete of the Week since the spring season began.

A four-hitter with eight strikeouts in a 3-1 win over San Rafael Terra Linda on April 2 with the Cal-Hi Sports caravan in attendance didn’t quite cut the mustard.

Other than a three-batter, three-strikeout first inning outing this past Monday in a 12-0 win over Branson of Ross, Scarsella hadn’t taken the circle for two weeks.

When the email came in saying the Cornell-bound Scarsella was the leading contender for our weekly honor, there was some question as to the story’s content so the caravan headed out to see her a second time.

Then, something magical happened. Kim manufactured the story.

The caravan made a trip to Lafayette on Wednesday where Scarsella pitched a no-hitter with 18 strikeouts in a 7-0 victory over host Acalanes. She fanned the first nine batters she faced and 11 of the first 14. Two batters walked and one reached by error for the only three base-runners.

Besides her excellent pitching, Scarsella went 3-for-3 with a towering two-run home run and a line shot double.

For her performance this week and all season, plus academic excellence, Scarsella is indeed the ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Week.

“It’s amazing. That’s the best game I’ve ever pitched,” said a beaming Scarsella when told she had literally won the award on the spot.

The no-no was the second of her career. Ironically, the first came in a 3-0 loss to Bishop O’Dowd in the 2010 CIFNCS D3 championship game.

As if the no-hitter wasn’t sufficient, Scarsella came back Thursday to pitch a two-hitter with 19 strikeouts in an eight-inning 2-0 win over Kentfield Marin Catholic.

Arguably the top player in the Redwood Empire, Scarsella has put up astronomical numbers this season and leads the Marin County Athletic League in pitching victories and strikeouts, plus hitting.

From the circle, after Thursday, she was 14-2 with a 0.77 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 100 innings pitched. At the plate, Scarsella was hitting .542 with two homers and eight doubles.

The two big outings this week also pushed Scarsella’s career strikeout total past the 600 mark.

Coach’s comments

“That’s by far the best pitcher we’ve faced this year,” Acalanes coach Vic Silva said.

“Besides her work ethic and the fact she’s never taken a day off since I’ve had her as a freshman, Kim’s been a team leader all four years,” said four-year Tam coach Mike Wills.

“It amazes me how much better she’s gotten each year. This year, she’s getting better each game,” continued Wills, who operates a school of baseball and softball as well as serving as a volunteer patrol sergeant in the Sebastopol police department.

Pitching Arsenal

“I have a fastball I try not to use because it comes straight in, two different changeups, a drop, rise, curve and screw. I like the curve and rise, and then mix in the screw and change.”

“The change has become my most effective pitch because I can switch. The Cornell coaches asked me to develop a second change and my pitching coach Bill Gaito helped me just like he’s taught me every pitch I know.”

Teammates and goals this season

“I’m one of the captains so I try to be supportive and make everyone feel included.”

“We’re definitely shooting for NCS but we’ve come really close to winning league, so winning MCAL and first by beating San Marin again next week is the number one goal.”


Kim’s father, John Scarsella, a mortgage broker, was a baseball guy that also played football and basketball. Her mother, Lisa Scarsella, is a pre-school teacher and president of Mill Valley’s Marin Girls Softball organization, where John is also involved.

Older brother Eddie was a golfer at Tam and currently is a sophomore at Northeastern. Jessie, Kim’s 13-year old sister, is a blossoming pitcher who also plays basketball and volleyball.

“Jessie’s really good. She’ll be at Tam next year to take my place.”

Preparing for college

Although she’s undeclared, Scarsella will be at Cornell’s College of Arts and Science. To prepare, she’s taking five AP courses this year and took two last year. This year it’s French, environmental science, calculus, literature and photo. Last year, it was U.S. History and composition.

Kim’s favorites

Team and Player: “San Francisco Giants and I really like Nate Schierholtz.”

Baseball movie: “Field of Dreams and A League of Their Own. Every softball player has to like that one.”

Vacation spot: “Greece. They have some good beaches there.”

Things Kim looks forward to in college

“The challenge of facing tougher competition, winning the Ivy League and playing in the NCAA tournament, and experiencing the lakes and forests around Cornell.”

Advice for young girls

Kim likes to help out with pitching clinics and tryouts for Marin Girls Softball and has this advice for the girls.

“Pitching-wise I give them the same advice I got. Always think about what you can do to improve. I also tell them to challenge themselves in the classroom. Don’t go for easy classes.”

You can send AOW nominations to mark.tennis@espn.com or tweet them to us @CalHiSports. Don't forget to follow Harold Abend on Twitter: @HaroldAbend