Only once before has one team had the State Coach of the Year and State Player of the Year for the same season. Lockman’s clutch efforts for Norco, however, win out even though head coach Rick Robinson was named state’s best last week.
With Norco being named POWERADE FAB 50 National Team of the Year as well as Cal-Hi Sports State Team of the Year in softball, Cougars’ star Emily Lockman has hit the trifecta -- or a quadruple if you include her coach, Rick Robinson, earning State Coach of the Year recognition last week.
Despite a very tough field of finalists, and a strong tendency of not normally choosing the state’s top player and coach from the same school, the Nebraska-bound 4.0 GPA student-athlete has been named on Monday as the ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Softball State Player of the Year.
Since Cal-Hi Sports began naming Ms. Softball in 1974, Lockman is only the fourth player from the Inland Empire portion of the CIF Southern Section to win the award but the third straight. Jessica Hall of Chino Hills Ayala was the 2010 winner while last year’s honoree was Lauren Sweet of Corona Santiago.
The only other time in softball in which the state player and coach of the year were from the same school was 1980. For that season, Righetti of Santa Maria’s Tracy Compton is listed for Ms. Softball while Righetti’s Bob Bush is shown for State Coach of the Year.
Lockman’s season began with a complete game 4-0 shutout of FAB 50 No. 15 and Cal-Hi Sports No. 6 Garden Grove Pacifica in the title game of the prestigious Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Arizona.
After dominating in the five-game tournament, she was named MVP just like she was last year’s MVP of the Michelle Carew Classic. The performances in Arizona also earned Emily the first ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Week award for the spring semester.
“Em,” as her teammates call her, finished off the season with a four-hit performance in a 6-4 win over Santiago in the CIFSS Division I title game.
Lockman’s final numbers included picking up every win in Norco’s 31-2 season and she ended up with a 0.35 ERA in 220 innings pitched. Emily also had 155 strikeouts and amazingly only 11 walks, almost double the number of shutouts (21) she recorded. What’s even more remarkable is that in the five games in what is the nation’s most difficult playoffs, Lockman only yielded one base on balls.
With bat in hand, Lockman averaged .389 on 42 hits with four home runs, 30 RBIs and 22 runs scored.
Some pretty remarkable feats considering no team in the nation played a tougher schedule than Norco.
Even with everything she’s accomplished, the girl that’s bubbly, singing, playing games with teammates, and seemingly always self-confident before games, almost couldn’t believe she was being honored.
“I don’t know what to say. It’s almost not real. I’ve heard of all of them and I’ve always looked up to them, but I’m not sure I deserve to be in that category,” said Lockman, when told she was joining Hall, Sweet, legendary Lisa Fernandez, and two-time winner Amanda Freed, who made the presentations for ESPNHS Softball at the ceremony last week at school honoring Norco as the FAB 50’s top team.
“When you meet her you think she has all this self-confidence but all the accolades have shocked her,” Robinson remarked.
“After the CIF championship I told her the interviews would start coming and her response was ‘I always thought I wanted this but now that I’ve got it I don’t know what to say,’” continued Robinson.
Taking care of business with her best friend, little big sis and the team
What Emily wanted to talk about more than anything else was the team, especially best friend, Kylie Reed, a Cal-committed junior who hit .550 on 66 hits with 40 runs scored, and who has played with Lockman since she was 8-years-old.
Lockman, the only girl on the Norco roster who was a freshman on the school’s 2009 CIFSS Division I title team, said she and her teammates felt a little unfulfilled after getting knocked out in the first-round of the playoffs the past two seasons.
“We always talked about going out in the first round. We felt we were better than that. We cheated ourselves.”
“I always knew I had to go out there and take care of business so the other girls would follow. Having Kylie covering my back and me hers, we’d both do things to show the girls how it’s done.
In addition to Lockman and Reed, another of the team’s Division I college commits is Emily’s younger sister, Abby, a freshman who says she’ll play next at Tennessee.
“Having Abby out there made me be more of a grown up. I had to be a role model for her.
Not really a power pitcher
Although Lockman has ramped it up to 64 miles per hour on her rise ball, it’s her drop change, curve and screw, and believing in her defense that’s made her so successful.
“Emily is quite different than the power pitchers,” Robinson said. “Her philosophy is not to try and strike everyone out. Her accuracy got better this year because she trusted her defense.”
Besides being under the tutelage of Robinson, and Corona Angels coach Marty Tyson, whom Lockman calls “a second dad,” Robinson’s sister, Norco pitching coach and former CIFSS title-winner Beth Windham, has had a big impact on Emily.
Not only does Lockman get the finer points from a former college pitcher, she and the girls get to hit live against Windham in practice.
Emily’s family has always been the core of her support.
Don Lockman, a football and baseball player who currently works for Boeing, and Kelly Lockman, a middle-school teacher who played softball, basketball and volleyball in college, are Emily’s biggest fans.
Her second nickname, “Cupcake,” came from her grandmother because she’s always eaten so many.
“My family is always in my corner. I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am without them.”
It’s a short last summer of travel ball for Emily, who left Norco Monday morning with her mother for a showcase tournament in Colorado with the Angels.
Then, it’s off to become a Cornhusker in August.
“Emily has made huge strides in maturity. She’s grown up a lot this year,” Robinson said. “She let her teammates know she’s the one getting the awards but it’s a team effort.”
OF THE YEAR
(Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)
2012 — Emily Lockman, Norco P/INF
2011 — Lauren Sweet, Corona Santiago C
2010 — Jessica Hall, Chino Hills Ayala P
2009 — Keilani Ricketts, San Jose Archbishop Mitty P-DH
2008 — Jessica Spigner, Valencia P-SS
2007 — Jordan Taylor, Valencia P
2006 — Amanda Williams, Oakley Freedom P
2005 — Katie Cotta, Linden P-DH
2004 — Anjelica Selden, Travis AFB Vanden P
2003 — Lisa Dodd, San Diego University City P-DH
2002 — Alicia Holllowell, Fairfield P
2001 — Marissa Marzan, Fresno Bullard P
2000 — Jamie Southern, Clovis, P-INF
1999 — Andrea Vidlund, Orangevale Casa Roble, P
1998 — Amanda Freed, Garden Grove Pacifica, P
1997 — Amanda Freed, Garden Grove Pacifica, P
1996 — Amanda Scott, Clovis P
1995 — Courtney Dale, Fresno Bullard P (Jr.)
1994 — Sara Griffin, Simi Valley P
1993 — Sara Griffin, Simi Valley P
1992 — Leah O’Brien, Chino Don Lugo P
1991 — Jennifer Brundage, Irvine P
1990 — Karen Jackson, Roseville P
1989 — Lisa Fernandez, Lakewood St. Joseph P
1988 — Michele Granger, Placentia Valencia P
1987 — Michele Granger, Placentia Valencia P
1986 — Michele Granger, Placentia Valencia P
1985 — Jackie Oakley, Huntington Beach Ocean View P
1984 — Samantha Ford, Newhall Hart P
1983 — Shawn Andaya, Lodi P
1982 — Kandy Foust, Santa Maria Righetti P
1981 — Tracy Compton, Santa Maria Righetti P
1980 — Tracy Compton, Santa Maria Righetti P
1979 — Mary Lou Ramm, Chula Vista Hilltop P
1978 — Teri Young, El Segundo P
1977 — Karen Andrews, San Diego Henry P
1976 — Jan Jeffers, Lompoc P
1975 — Barbara Reinalda, Cerritos Valley Christian P
1974 — Barbara Reinalda, Cerritos Valley Christian P
Corrections or comments? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.