Central Community College softball coach Jack Guiterrez had the perfect seat when he first saw his most recent commit, Larissa Rother, for the first time. As Rother whizzed in fastballs, riseballs and painted the corners, Gutierrez was behind the plate calling the balls and strikes in a Lakeview summer league game.
Wednesday, the Columbus High senior signed a National Letter of intent to continue tossing pitches by Gutierrez, this time as he watches from the dugout.
Rother joins Lakeview senior Kassidy Soulliere as the most recent city commit to Gutierrez's Raiders program. Next week, Nevaya Metcalfe, another Lakeview senior, will make it three.
"It's always a good feeling to see your kids move on to the next level," said CHS head coach Paul Braun. "All the credit goes to the players. They're the ones that put in the hard work.
"We give them directions, but they're the ones that put the time in and the hard work to get themselves to that level. (Rother) is well deserving of playing at the next level."
Rother only played one season at Columbus High after transferring in to the Discoverers, hit .330 her senior year with 32 hits including a home run, two triples and eight doubles.
She recorded 15 RBIs and scored 10 runs.
While Rother was a successful batter, her pitching is what really caught the eye of CCC according to Gutierrez.
She had a 3.98 ERA and struck out 60 batters.
"Any college program is always looking for pitchers, and she's a good one," Gutierrez said. "She throws hard, has some movement on her ball. I think she'll probably help us as the plate, too, as a hitter."
Rother was also an All-State Honorable mention, GNAC All-Conference and an Academic All-Conference player.
"I'm pretty excited to start the next chapter of my life," Rother said at her signing. "I have a lot of support here, and I won't be leaving them because I'll be close."
Rother said facing better talent is what she is looking forward to most when it comes to competing at the collegiate level.
Rother's work ethic, toughness and her ability to gel with her teammate, according to Braun, are three of her biggest assets she brings to a team.
Rother started playing softball when she was 12 in a recreational league.
"I didn't know if I was going to be very good, but then my step-dad told me I was actually getting pretty good," she said. "That's when I started to think about playing in college."
Rother wants to study psychology at CCC-Columbus.
"She'll help us right away," Gutierrez said. "We have a couple good freshman pitchers. I think she'll be an impact player right away."
Columbus High School finished the 2018 season with a record of 11-20.
CCC finished 20-21 last season making it to the District G playoffs.
"I think she can come in and dominate in the center of the field for sure, just by her work ethic," Braun said. Coach Gutierrez knows a lot about pitching. He was a men's pitcher. I think when she get's a little more growth there, she can come in and dominate."
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com