Liliana Arana (who goes by "Lily too) is a kind-hearted person and loving teammate in the dugout and off the field, but when she steps inside the circle, she transforms into a different person.
An umpire once asked her catcher, "Is your pitcher OK?"
"Yes, why?" her catcher replied.
"You’re winning by a lot, but she looks mad," Blue said.
"Nah, that’s just her face," her catcher said.
It's with that kind of ferocity that Arana, #34 in the 2023 Extra Elite 100, approaches the game. Firecrackers-TJ coach TJ Houshmandzadeh said Arana already throws in the low 60s, can go up, down, in and out and she can throw her riseball multiple levels.
"She wants the ball every time out," said Houshmandzadeh, who will have Arana on his 16U team even though she is talented enough to play on his 18U team.
Firecrackers-TJ 2021 catcher Mackenzie San Pedro, who has committed to Cal Baptist, said Arana is one of the best pitchers she's ever caught.
"I remember a specific time when Lily wasn't hitting and she was really frustrated, she turned to me and said, 'I'll just have to strike them all out,'" San Pedro said. "She ended up with almost 15 strikeouts that game and just dominated."
Ariana Gonzalez was teammates with Arana --- and she has the bruised hands to prove she once caught Arana to prove it --- on the 12U El Rio All-Stars, who won the 12U ASA/USA Western Nationals in 2017.
"She pitched her heart out," Gonzalez said of Arana's effort in the 2017 nationals. "I've played on different teams and have had experiences with pitchers, but she is one of a kind. As one of the most respected pitchers in her division, she remains humble and has always had a softball sister mentality on and off the field.”
“I know I can count on her if I need someone to talk to, whether it's about our softball careers or just personal girl stuff. She's shown me what 100 percent dedication is. She's always putting in the effort and extra work at practice and at home. Her pitching speaks for itself when it's game time and balls are flaming to that catcher's glove."
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