Alexandria Reyes, 14-1 this season for Sunnyside, is headed for Lyons College in Batesville, Ark., after this year.


When Alexandria Reyes walks to the circle, her mind is clear.

But it doesn't last. She tries to clear her head and focus on the batter who is standing by home plate and ready to swing at whatever Reyes throws her way.

Reyes is 14-1 for Sunnyside, but she still gets nervous standing in the circle. She worries about her performance. She worries about getting her teammates going.

"So," Reyes said, "sometimes I sing to myself."

Reyes is 18 with big things coming, a veteran for 12th-ranked Sunnyside (22-9), which hosts No. 21 Surprise Willow Canyon to open the Division I state tournament Saturday at 11 a.m. She'll be attending Lyons College in Batesville, Ark., next season.

But she's still a kid at heart.

"I mostly sing 'Lion King' songs," Reyes said. "My favorite is (either) 'Hakuna Matata' or 'Circle of Life.'

"It calms me down, makes me less nervous."

And when Reyes is calm, so are the Blue Devils.

Earlier in the season, the Blue Devils had a rough stretch. They lost to Cienega 4-2 on March 15, and followed that up with a 17-1 loss to Chandler Basha a few days later.

Reyes didn't pitch in either of those games, but she brought the team back up one game later.

"I tried my best to lift everyone up and said 'Yeah, we'll get the next one,' " Reyes said

And she did. Sunnyside beat Mesquite 10-0 as Reyes pitched a 5-inning, complete game shutout and struck out 10.

"She goes out there and she's always looking to lead us in the right direction," Sunnyside coach Pete Palomarez said. "Whether we got beat the game before or won three in a row, she doesn't change; she just keeps going and works hard. She's gonna give me 100 percent, no two ways about it."

But there's one thing that Reyes hasn't accomplished - a state championship. As the No. 24 seed last year, Sunnyside fell to No. 9 Desert Mountain 11-1 in the first round.

But Palomarez wants Reyes to finish off her career on top.

"I would love to see Lexy leave here with a state championship, but I just want her to know she's leaving here and gave it her best."