Herald All-Metro Softball: Port Isabel’s Gonzalez collects pitching honor

After Port Isabel’s Allison Gonzalez made a big impact for the Lady Tarpons as a freshman, the Lady Tarpons’ jack of all trades took on the role of starting pitcher on a consistent basis as a sophomore.

Once again Gonzalez thrived, delivering several big performances in crucial moments this season and helping lead the Lady Tarpons back to the postseason.

For that reason, Gonzalez has been named The Brownsville Herald’s 2019 All-Metro Softball Pitcher of the Year.

Gonzalez, who is no stranger to the circle as she has pitched since she was 9 years old, didn’t pitch much during her freshman season as then-senior Christa Valdez held down the fort. But Gonzalez quickly became comfortable and gained the team’s confidence when called upon this season.

“It was a really big jump for me to go from a left-field freshman, to being a starting pitcher,” Gonzalez said. “I just tried to calm myself down and looked at my teammates, and knew they had my back and whatever I pitched or whatever I threw they could get the out.”

Gonzalez shined during the District 32-4A season, posting a 6-1 record in the circle with 50 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched. She also had a .386 batting average and 23 RBIs.

While all six wins were crucial, none was bigger than Port Isabel’s 2-1 win against Rio Hondo (its only district loss), during which Gonzalez tossed a complete game, allowing just four hits, one run and recording seven strikeouts.

The Lady Tarpons finished in third place with a 13-3 district record, and Gonzalez earned an all-district first-team nod.

Port Isabel coach Danno Wise said Gonzalez had the arm but quickly became an all-around pitcher as the season went on.

“(Gonzalez) really was a thrower,” Wise said. “She threw hard and had a changeup. As the season progressed, you saw less and less hard contact against her. She started being smarter and better with her placement. By the time we hit district, she really started coming into her own, and a prime example of that was that game against Rio Hondo. It was masterful, and she was the only pitcher in the district to beat them.”

With a breakout season in the circle has come confidence for Gonzalez, who feels she has the ability to hang with top-level pitchers in the area.

“I played summer ball, and I’ve seen a lot of upper-level pitchers,” Gonzalez said. “I know that I can hang with them, but I still need to work harder than them.”

With two seasons left, Gonzalez isn’t content with what she has already accomplished. She has set new goals to take her game in the circle to the next level and help her team hunt a district title.

“This just means I have to work harder,” she said. “My goal right now is to hit 60 mph accurate throws, and to perfect my throws. I also want to hit and field better, whatever I can do.”