Freshman pitcher wants to leave legacy at Fresno State

Freshman pitcher Danielle East. East threw a five-inning shutout against Cleveland State at Margie Wright Diamond on March 9, 2018. (Keith Kountz)

Southern California left-handed pitcher Danielle East has come a long way from being recruited by top schools to being a staple for the Fresno State softball team’s pitching lineup.

As a freshman pitcher for the Bulldogs, East has had impressive outings against Stanford where she pitched eight innings without allowing a single run.

After starting her freshman and sophomore years at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, she became Athlete of the Year, Most Valuable Pitcher among other awards.

After two years in high school, East left school due to a disability.

East had committed to UC Santa Barbara at age 14 before she knew about her disability, and after her diagnosis, she decided along with her parents that UCSB wasn’t the right fit for her – academically.

After receiving a text message from Fresno State softball head coach Linda Garza, she became interested in the softball program. She visited Fresno State in November 2016 where she discovered campus programs and assistance provided to students with disabilities. She felt that the university was the right place for her both for academics and athletics.

East said she enjoys being with the friends she made on the team. She said she is constantly goofing off with her teammates and that with her bubbly personality sometimes she might get into trouble.

She added that her teammates complement each other, and that she has found that her catcher knows how to calm her down when she is pitching.

Garza enjoys having East on the team because she is a competitive person who works hard to get better every day. Garza mentioned that even though East had to face many adversities in her last two years of high school. She still managed to do everything she needed to do to get to Fresno State.

Garza said that East has a bright future at Fresno State because she is willing to learn and has a great work ethic. Garza also said that because she is a left-handed pitcher who can hit her spots and throws at a decent velocity, she can be really successful.

“Dani is a unique story…she loves playing here, she likes the crowd and enjoys being part of the community,” Garza said. “She knows how to get to the next pitch, and that will be huge in her career here.”

East said that she mostly works with assistant coach Jodie Cox on her pitching every day. She said that because of Cox she is constantly getting better not just in her pitching but also as a person.

In the future, East wants to win a conference championship and become an All-American.

“We’re a family. At the end of the day, we all work for the same goal which is to win conference and make it to regionals,” East said. “I want to be something at Fresno State, I want to leave here with a lot.”

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