Los Angeles Times - June 03, 1988
Irene Garcia, Times Staff Writer
Candy Carrico never wanted to be a pitcher. The 18-year old Leuzinger High School hurler was volunteered for the job.
'I remember,' said Leuzinger softball Coach Sharon Curto, 'when Candy was in eighth grade and we were in the playoffs. She came out to watch her older sister, Becky, who was on the team, and Becky introduced us after the game. She said, 'This is Candy, she'll play on the team. She'll pitch.' '
'I prefer the outfield,' Carrico said. 'But my older sister pitched here and she told the coach I was a pitcher. Then there was nobody else that could pitch, so I had to do it.'
Whether she likes it or not, Carrico is a tough pitcher, who has helped lead the Olympians (20-6, 9-1 league) to the finals of the CIF 1-A playoffs for the first time in the school's history. Her record on the mound is 19-6.
'We all have so much confidence in her,' said Leuzinger senior shortstop Cindy Halvorson, 'because when she's on, we'll never lose. She's real modest, so she won't say that, but it's true.'
Carrico has 10 shutouts this season, three of them in the playoffs. She's struck out 122 batters in 151 innings and has been the league's most valuable player twice and an all-Pioneer League player four times.
'She's like a race horse,' said Curto, who has coached at Leuzinger for eight years. 'Once she gets in there and pitches a few, she gets warmed up and there's no stopping her.'
The 5-foot-8 senior also leads league champion Leuzinger at the plate with a .456 batting percentage. In the quarterfinal playoff game against L.A. Baptist High, Carrico went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and hit her sixth home run of the season. She also earned an 8-0 shutout.
'She's one of the strongest players I've seen at this level,' said L.A. Baptist softball Coach Dave Martinez. 'She really impressed me because she was all-around. She hit and she pitched good and hard. It's very difficult to find a girl that's so well-rounded in 1-A.'
Carrico has been developing her game for 10 years. Softball was a family ritual when the three Carrico sisters were growing up. Wendy, the youngest, also plays. The sophomore is the Olympians' left fielder and backup pitcher.
'When Candy started playing,' said her father, James, who coaches softball at West Torrance High, 'she was an energetic and clumsy kid like any other 8-year-old. But by the time she was 10, she was a good runner and hitter. By then she was a good ball player.'
Carrico also plays outfield for the Torrance Lightnings, an Amateur Softball Assn. 18-and-under team that her father coaches during the summer.
'Candy is a much better outfielder than a pitcher,' her father said. 'She's very aggressive in the outfield and she has a great arm. She also has tremendous speed.'
In tomorrow's CIF final at 5:30 p.m., Carrico will be on the mound when Leuzinger faces St. Joseph High of Santa Maria at Mayfair Park in Lakewood. The Olympians will have to play their best against the Knights (22-8), who have only lost to 4-A schools this year.
Carrico, who will play softball at El Camino College next year, says she's ecstatic that her team is in the finals. Leuzinger has only made it past the first round of the playoffs once during Carrico's career.
'It's a shock! ' she said. 'I really can't believe it, to tell you the truth.'
Los Angeles Times - June 05, 1988
Irene Garcia, Staff Writer
Softball Team Falls to St. Joseph: Playoff Loss Doesn't Get Leuzinger Down
The Leuzinger High School softball team didn't win the CIF 1-A title on Saturday, but the Olympians were still jumping and screaming joyfully after their 2-1 loss to St. Joseph High (23-8) of Santa Maria.
'Are you kidding?' said Leuzinger Coach Sharon Curto. 'This was a very exciting way to finish the season. This was like being in the World Series!'
Leuzinger (20-7) has been in the playoffs seven times during Curto's eight years there, but the Olympians never have made it to the finals. Last year they were eliminated by St. Joseph--which won the 1-A title--in the second round of the playoffs.
'They were really great,' said St. Joseph Coach Ernie Baldiviez. 'They really deserved to be where they were. As you saw today, they sure didn't get there by luck.'
Leuzinger got six hits off St. Joseph ace Julie Rome, the Los Padres League most valuable player. The junior right-hander, who has earned four no-hitters this season, allowed no hits in the semifinal playoff game against La Reina last week and was expected to do the same on Saturday.
'She is a very great pitcher,' said Leuzinger right fielder Adrianna Iberra, who scored the Olympians' only run. 'She was pitching that riseball, and it was tough to hit.'
In the sixth inning, Iberra, a junior, smacked a double to right field with one out. She went to third on a passed ball and scored on Rome's wild pitch to Leuzinger catcher Alissa Willard.
Willard hit a double to left center, with two outs. She was left on base after sophomore left fielder Wendy Carrico struck out.
The Knights scored their first run in the fourth inning when Leuzinger pitcher Candy Carrico (19-7) gave up three hits. Shortstop Mindy Mawhinney lead off with double deep to left field. Mawhinney got to third on a wild pitch and scored on Julie Grennan's sacrifice fly to left field.
In the sixth inning, Grennan hit a double, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a fielder's choice. St. Joseph third baseman Raquel Fleming hit the ball past Carrico, who touched it with her glove. Leuzinger second baseman Gina Dicrocco got the rolling ball and made the play at first.
'This is my last high school game,' Carrico, a senior and the Pioneer League's MVP, said before the game. 'So I'm going to try everything. I am scared and nervous, but I'm just trying to not think about it.'
It was hard to tell that Carrico, who has earned 10 shutouts this season and leads the Olympians in batting, had pre-game jitters. She struck out 10 batters and gave up six hits.
Willard hit two doubles and sophomore right fielder Lucy Najera had two singles.
'We scored,' said Iberra, 'we hit, we pitched well. We did everything we could, and we still lost. They were just a very strong team.'
Los Angeles Times - April 20, 1990
Russell Andrews, Staff Writer Â
Nothing Underhanded About El Camino Pitcher...
Softball: Sophomore Candy Carrico, who pitched a no-hitter on Wednesday, uses a variety of pitches to keep opponents guessing.
Candy Carrico, a sophomore right-hander from El Camino College, has enjoyed first-place finishes, undefeated seasons, most-valuable-player awards and colorful nicknames.
But this season the Warriors have struggled to produce runs and Carrico's record, a modest 17-15-1, reflects that.
'We're having a rough year,' Carrico said. 'But that's not going to stop me. I just came off of three years where my team took first place, and I still love playing softball. It's just that you can't win them all.'
Last season El Camino went 16-0 in the South Coast Conference.
On Wednesday, the Warriors and Carrico recaptured some of that lost magic in a game against Harbor College.
Carrico had 10 strikeouts en route to a no-hitter and a 12-0 Warrior victory.
The victory improved El Camino's SCC record to 7-6 and might have improved Carrico's chances of getting back her nickname.
When she attended Leuzinger High, she was known as 'Nurse K' for her ability to strike out batters.
'I thought that was kind of dumb,' Carrico said. 'It's nice to get publicity, but I was embarrassed by all of that.'
This season she has 164 strikeouts, no wild pitches, 38 walks and a 0.81 earned-run average.
'I don't feel that I'm really good,' she said. 'I see myself as average. I'm not Division I or anything.'
Last year's most valuable player in the SCC is popular among other athletes at El Camino.
'It's kind of nice when you go somewhere and people say, 'Oh, you're the pitcher. I read about you,' ' Carrico said. 'That happens all the time at work or at school. Just the other day I was having lunch in a restaurant and it happened. It's really fun.
'I will never let it go to my head because I know I could be doing so much better than I am right now in pitching, hitting, everything.'
To opposing hitters, Carrico's abilities appear unlimited. She mixes pitches--a curveball, drop pitch, changeup, screwball and fastball--to keep batters off guard.
But with her community college career coming to an end, she is waiting for an offer to continue her athletic career.
She views the differences between a baseball and softball player's career options as unjust.
'I think that is totally unfair,' Carrico said. 'They are playing and doing exactly what they want to do and getting paid for it. We put in just as much time and effort as the guys do, but we can't get paid.'
Carrico is considering a career related to physical education, like teaching the handicapped to play sports, but said she hasn't given much thought to anything unrelated to softball.
'When you're out there on the mound, you're living for that day, for that moment,' she said. 'You're not worried about the future.'
It would seem that her future isn't far from the field, especially since her father, mother and two sisters have ties to the sport.
Her father, Jim Carrico, has coached the West Torrance High softball team for the past five seasons and a summer team, the Torrance Lightning, that Candy pitched on for eight seasons.
Her oldest sister, Becky, 24, pitched for Leuzinger and Wendy, 18, is currently a starting pitcher there. Carrico's mother rotates between her daughters' games.
Carrico has started every game for the Warriors this season. She maintains an optimistic attitude despite the team's struggles this season.
'You have to make the best out of everything, and even though we're not winning as much as we would like, you can't let things like that stop you,' she said.
The team's offense shoulders the load for the Warriors' rough season, but Carrico has been among the top three hitters, averaging .273.
'I'm out there to have fun,' Carrico said. 'The minute you stop having fun and allow all those things to get in your way, you know it's time to stop playing.'