For over a decade, reality television viewers have been Keeping up with the Kardashians, but over the past four years, Central Coast Section hitters have been unable to keep up with the fastball from ace pitcher Kathryn Caravalho. The four-year varsity pitcher for the Santa Clara Bruins pitches almost every single inning her team plays and it appears she has taken her game to a new level as a senior.
Earlier this month Caravalho was featured as part of the “Athletes of the Week” column in the Mercury News. The statistics collected by the Mercury are eye-popping numbers. Caravalho delivered a 6-1 record with 72 strikeouts and a 1.18 ERA in a seven-game span from March 26 through April 7. Among the performances in that stretch included allowing zero earned runs in a 4-2 win over Archbishop Mitty and a 1-0 loss against St. Francis—two of the best teams in CCS. The Bruins have played the Lancers twice this season, both 1-0 losses in pitching duels. Caravalho has been at, or near, the top of all CCS pitchers in strikeouts all season.
When asked if it was intentional to try and increase the speed of her fastball during the offseason, Caravalho admitted that it was only a fortunate bonus from improving her mechanics.
“I had been working on getting more speed for such a long time, but I think the over-focus on it caused me to tense up,” said Caravalho. “Over the summer and fall I was just working on understanding my mechanics and where my arm has to go and things like that. I was actually less focused on the speed, and that mentality has actually seemed to help me throw harder.”
Caravalho comes from an enthusiastic baseball and softball family. She has an older sister who currently is a catcher in college and her younger brother is also at Santa Clara High where he pitches for the varsity team as a freshman. Parents John and Jennifer Caravalho could not be more proud of their kids, who have excelled in the classroom at the same level they’ve excelled on the diamond.
“Kathryn is just a great all around kid,” said Caravalho’s mother. “She gets good grades, she has a good attitude, she is kind to people, she cares about people. She is just such a well-rounded individual.”
While her goal is to eventually play at a DI school, Caravalho has received numerous scholarship offers from DII, DIII and NIA schools. With her incredibly high (unweighted) GPA of 3.9, she has also received scholarship offers based on her grades alone.
As for softball, it sounds as if starting at one of the local community colleges might be her best option. She could showcase her skills a little bit longer for DI schools by playing for a program like West Valley, which is coached by former Cal Bear and U.S. Olympian Vicky Galindo-Piatt.
Wherever Caravalho ends up deciding to go for college, she no doubt has a bright future ahead.
In the present, she is tasked with leading a young Bruins team that lost a number of strong seniors from last season. And while taking over a huge load of leadership responsibilities might frustrate the average teenager, Caravalho, who is known for her calm demeanor and team-first attitude, is far from an average teenager.
“It’s amazing, she has a lot of intestinal fortitude, she’s a strong young lady just within who she is,” remarked Caravalho’s father. “She knows what her job is when she’s playing softball. She doesn’t let mistakes, neither her own nor her teammates’, bother her. Against St. Francis there was a girl who hit a fly ball that turned into a double. Instead of getting mad, Kathryn told her teammate ‘you’ll get it next time’.”
Unsurprisingly, in the two games since the aforementioned seven-game stretch of dominance, Caravalho has thrown two shutouts in 10-0 and 3-0 victories over Monta Vista and Evergreen Valley.
Caravalho and the Bruins next play on Saturday, April 21 at Gunn in a non-league game before jumping back into league play two days later against Homestead. Santa Clara currently sits at 11-4 overall and 4-2 in the De Anza League. The Bruins hope to have a strong finish to their season and to go far in the CCS playoffs. Doing so will certainly depend largely on the right shoulder of one, Kathryn Caravalho.