The Runner Spotlight: Daryn Hitzel


Photo contributed by Daryn Hitzel

CSUB junior pitcher Daryn Hitzel.

Elisa Fuentes, Sports Co-Editor

  For this edition of the Runner Spotlight, we look at CSU Bakersfield junior softball pitcher Daryn Hitzel. 

  Hitzel hails from the town of Corona, CA and picked up the game of softball at about seven years old after watching her older sister Kellen in a little league game. She was so inspired by her sister’s performance, she decided that she would also take a chance and try out the position to see how she would fare.  

  With the help of her sister, Hitzel learned many important fundamentals about the sport and she was able to grow faster as an athlete. The most important thing she learned from Kellen was how to have a short memory with negative situations in the game. Whether it is from heckling fans or dealing with a negative situation with a coach or teammate, Hitzel was taught to not let those things affect her and to let them roll off her shoulders so it does not hinder her from reaching her goals as a player. 

  “She was always someone I could look up to and learn from her lessons so I don’t have to go through the same thing… because she went through a lot,” Hitzel said about her older sister. 

  Hitzel mainly played in the outfield until she reached college and zeroed in on pitching. During her freshman year, she found that she needed to focus on the mental side of her game. Hitzel quickly realized that the lessons her sister had taught her before about having a short memory as a pitcher and not allowing certain situations to bring you down is an absolute necessity to succeed at the position. 

  “Hits are gonna happen, and that’s just like someone punching me, but I can’t just let that defeat me and take me down.” 

   Hitzel says her sophomore season was one that really stuck out to her, specifically the Roadrunners’ game against the University of San Diego on March 17, 2019. 

 “The adrenaline of that game and just winning that game was probably the best feeling.” 

 The game was tied in the fifth inning when Hitzel was called in from the bullpen to relieve the starter. She then went on to throw six straight innings before the Roadrunners were finally able to win the game in the 11th inning with a final of 4 to 3. 

  With this season cancelled, Hitzel said she did not get to finish the way she would have wanted to. While her record was 1 and 12 as a starter, her earned run average dropped two runs after the win against University of Nevada on Feb. 16. It was around the time CSUB was scheduled to play against UC Riverside on March 7 when Hitzel felt that she finally figured out what she needed to do in order to perform her best. 

  “That’s the frustrating part…It kinda sucks that I never got to continue and build off it.” 

  Despite having an incomplete season, Hitzel is not allowing that to bring down her spirits for next season. She is already eager to get back on the field for her senior year, and while she may be a little anxious to get back on the mound, she feels that she now has the extra time that she needed to improve and tune up her game before the next season. Hitzel plans on working out during this extra time off in order to stay healthy during this sports hiatus. So when next season finally does come, she will be ready to go.