UNION CITY -- RaeAnn Garza will turn anything into a competition, so it's no wonder the ace of the James Logan High softball team thrives under pressure.
"I'm extremely competitive," said Garza, the Colts' four-year starting pitcher. "It can be the smallest things, like seeing who can eat faster or who can score higher on a test."
That competitive fire was on full display during yet another run to the North Coast Section Division I championship for Garza and the Colts.
A three-time NCS champion, Garza was solid all year long but elevated her play in the postseason, allowing just one earned run in three playoff wins while also making an impact with her bat. She has been named Bay Area News Group East Bay Softball Player of the Year.
"She just hates to lose," Logan coach Teri Johnson said. "She'll never second guess herself on a pitch she wants to throw and I think that shows confidence. She owns the circle when she's in it. She feared none and respected all."
Garza embraced the role of team captain this year, leading with her voice and by example. She was patient but encouraging with the young defense working behind her.
By the postseason, errors were scarce and the team was rolling.
"They weren't doing the little extra things that make a championship team," Johnson said. "She really instilled that in them."
The Colts especially needed their ace and No. 3 hitter in a tough semifinal matchup with California.
Garza worked out of some jams early against the Grizzlies, then broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning with a booming double that scored the game's only run. After her big RBI, Garza didn't allow another base runner to preserve a 1-0 win.
"People have been telling me ever since I was in 10-and-under (softball) that I keep my composure," Garza said. "I don't get stressed or lose focus and I can work through those (tough) moments."
Garza posted an ERA of 0.85 and a batting average of .412 as a senior. But winning is what she did best.
With Garza in the circle the last four years, the Colts never lost an Mission Valley Athletic League game. In fact, they only lost once this season and six times total over the past three years.
She and senior teammates Caley Bonansea, Clarissa Blaquera, Tatyana Salazar and Kimberly Goulart all made the varsity team as freshmen. Together, they became the first team in any sport at Logan to repeat as section champions, according to Johnson.
"We've been friends for so long and softball brings us even closer," Garza said. "It's just great because doing these things with the people you love makes it 10 times better."
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