Erik Engle is a journalism senior and Mustang News sports writer. The views expressed in this column do not reflect the viewpoints and editorial coverage of Mustang News.
If I told you there was currently an athlete at Cal Poly that was officially placed on the short list for collegiate player of the year, could you tell me what sport they played? Probably not.
Chances are you are missing out on one of the greatest sporting spectacles to ever take place at Cal Poly. I’m not naive enough to suggest that Cal Poly is a premier destination for athletics, but senior pitcher Sierra Hyland is a premier athlete deserving far more attention than she has received from her local fan base.
Hyland began her historically great season with a no-hitter in the season opener and a perfect game, widely considered the hardest thing to accomplish in the sport, the next very day.
She holds almost every major Big West pitching record and currently ranks sixth in NCAA Division I Softball in earned run average (0.96) and 13th in strikeouts while still owning a batting average of 0.333 with 32 RBIs, best on the team in both categories.
Put into non-statistical terms, she’s good enough to win games almost entirely on her own.
Bob Janssen Field, the Cal Poly softball team’s home field, has a maximum capacity of 800 people and has sold out exactly zero times this season. The Mustangs’ most recent home series was against Long Beach State in a battle for first place in the Big West Conference. The attendance for the last game of the series was just 372.
Are you kidding me?
Cal Poly doesn’t often have athletes that are considered the best in the nation at their sport. Now that we do, we can’t even show up to support them?
In addition to Hyland, the rest of the team is phenomenal. Junior pitcher Lindsey Chalmers is almost as dominant as Hyland is in the circle and the Mustangs have four players with a batting average over 0.300. They have a very real chance of going to the NCAA Women’s College World Series and making a deep run while they’re there.
Even if you aren’t the least bit interested in sports, this is Cal Poly history. Hyland has been so dominant in her career that some of these records may never be broken.
If you are a student or faculty member, these games are free and they play at least three games at home every other weekend. If you can’t make it to some of the games before the end of the season, come back next spring when coach Jenny Condon’s squad likely will be competing for a top-25 ranking yet again.