ST. JOHN | Lily Del Toro was an interesting young lady. There were highs and lows as she started her love of physical activity.
When she was 5 her father, Jesse, put her on a bike for the first time and she started peddling. She rode for more than a mile before crashing to the ground. Not bad.
Then, she started playing youth soccer. That didn't go so well.
"I was always the kid running away from the ball," Del Toro said.
After a year of playing tee ball with the boys, Del Toro began her softball journey. It didn't start like a new car.
"I was a catcher in town ball," Del Toro said. "I didn't like it. I wasn't passionate about it. I just did it because no one else wanted to go back there."
These youthful experiences did help the junior pitcher at Lake Central grow into a budding star. Once she got a ball in her hand while standing tall in the middle of a circle, it was lights out.
She is 4-1 with a 0.77 ERA with 60 strikeouts and six walks in 45 and 1/3 innings pitched. She is being recruited by several D-I schools among others.
"When I started pitching that was the position that all the young girls wanted to do," Del Toro said, "but when I started I just fell in love with it."
Last year Del Toro was in a three-pitcher rotation with seniors Bridget Boyle and Morgan Franovich showing her the ropes. This year Del Toro is the shoulder to lean on for sophomore Annabel Karberg.
"Lily has really taken on the leadership position," L.C. coach Jeff Sherman said. "She's now really the veteran of that group. It's Lily's third varsity season."
Last Saturday at the Franklin Central Invitational, Del Toro tired in the sixth inning of the championship game and surrendered a game-tying run. She was taken out, but in the top of the seventh she knocked in the winning run with a hit.
Del Toro is .400 with six RBIs and four doubles. This is her first season hitting in every game.
"I've always practiced my pitching more than my hitting, but I hate being at the bottom of the order," Del Torro said. "So I've worked hard so I can move up. I hit like a pitcher. I know what pitches are coming in certain counts and that's helped me a lot."
This young Indians team is growing and getting better every day. Del Toro is leading the way. L.C. wants to get back to the top by the time the sectionals open.
"Last year we had one of the best teams around," Del Toro said. "It didn't end like we wanted it to. We lost six seniors but I feel like we can live up to our potential if we keep working hard."