Pitcher of the Year: East Coweta ace left her mark on program
By DOUG GORMAN
East Coweta pitcher Megan Chocallo is no than different any other young woman who has ever stepped on the softball field.
Her goal was always to play college softball at the highest level.
She capped off her senior year with a 24-4 record in 174.1 innings and that was plenty strong enough to earn The Newnan Times-Herald Pitcher of the Year honors.
She finished the 2012 season with 201 strikeouts and a 1.16 ERA in leading the Lady Indians to a 33-5-1 record and a No. 4 ranking in the final gasports.com Class AAAAA Coaches’ poll.
Despite the long list of accolades, Chocallo’s memories extend past her accomplishments on the softball field over the last four years.
“I think what I will remember the most are all the girls and friendships,” she said.
For Chocallo, playing softball has practically been a life-long venture, starting when she first stepped on the softball field as a 4-year-old back in Cobb County as a member of the Pink Panthers.
Back then, the future East Coweta start was better at stopping ground balls hit through the hole between second and third. It wasn’t until years later that the one-time shortstop threw her first strike after moving to the pitching circle as a fifth grader.
There wasn’t anything dramatic about her decision to try pitching.
“I was just 10 and decided I wanted to try it,” she said.
Softball is a year-round venture for Chocallo, who takes pitching lessons from Bill Hudson.
“He has taught me what to look for with different pitches,” she said.
Chocallo joins a Towson squad that plays in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Division I program finished 25-30 overall and 8-13 in conference play last spring.
“It's far enough from home and a Division I program,” she said. “It's got a football program and its a nice campus.”
She leaves the high school ranks behind as the most decorated pitcher in the history of the highly-successful Lady Indians’ program.
During her four years as a starter, Chocallo set a school record with 661 strikeouts, 85 wins and 6 saves.
East Coweta advanced to the Elite 8 during all four years Chocallo was in uniform with the Lady Indians. This year, Chocallo helped her team compile 27 straight wins with one tie, including 10 by shutout as the school headed back to the Elite 8 for the eighth straight year.
“She set all kinds of records for us and helped us win region championships,” East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach said. “In my opinion, it doesn’t happen without her.”
DeLoach admits Chocallo made it look easy.
One of Chocallo’s best performances this year came in the winners’ bracket of the Region 3-AAAAAA tournament against rival Newnan as she took a perfect game into the seventh inning, before holding on for a 2-0 victory.
“She was our go-to player,” DeLoach said. “I started watching her pitch jayvee ball for us when she was in eighth grade, and you knew even back then she was going to be special."
Chocallo had to handle the pressure of being the starter from the time she was a freshman, but she hasn’t left the pitching circle in four years.
“There were some tough-love moments early in her career, but she did a great job handling it,” DeLoach said. “It was a lot of fun being around Megan. I think I speak for the rest of the team when I say that.”
DeLoach remembers Chocallo came into her own during her freshman season while pitching in a preseason tournament.
“I really challenged her back then,” Deloach recalled. “I told her A, you are going to believe in me, or B, you are going to step up and believe in me. She persevered, and I think the rest is history.”
DeLoach said that was a make or break moment for her.
“I am very proud of her, because some athletes would have tucked their tail and ran. She stuck with it, and look where were are today. She kept her chin up and tried to win the next pitch, and she has done that ever since," he said.