Titans News · Eastlake softball catcher follows her father in finding home behind plate


“I saw some really old videos of him that my grandpa in Mexico had,” the 5-foot-7 Titans senior said. “I saw him gun down a runner at second base, and he hit (one) over the fence.

“I was amazed how talented he was.”

So Sharlize dedicated herself to being part of the Palacios legacy at catcher.

She tried to copy as much about her dad’s game as she could. The most noticeable thing involves how she throws from behind the plate. She throws from her knees, just like dad did.

“I’ve never gotten a single lesson from anyone but dad,” said Sharlize, who has committed to play college softball at Arizona. “The first thing he told me was to stay calm back there and rely on my reactions.”

 

The first time she threw out a runner from her knees was in an all-star game when she was 11. Sharlize picked off a runner at second base.

“The crowd was really silent, but dad came leaping out of the dugout screaming,” she recalled. “He wouldn’t let me throw from my knees at first.

“I did it without even thinking about it that first time. Now it’s second nature.

“Dad talked about that moment for a long time.”

The first time coaches from Arizona saw her throw out a runner from her knees, they asked where she learned that.

She pointed at dad, who is an assistant coach at Eastlake.

Sharlize also should be a three-time all-section catcher as she heads into her senior year.

A torn meniscus in her knee last season cost her after earning first-team all-section honors as a freshman and a sophomore.

The injury forced her to miss 10 games last year, but she avoided having surgery.

She returned for the final game as Eastlake reached the section Division I championship game but lost to Rancho Bernardo 3-0.

Palacios, a .520 hitter last year after hitting .534 as a freshman and .536 as a sophomore, was the designated player in that game.

“That was my dream to play in the finals, so I couldn’t miss it,” she said. “My dad did not want me playing because of college, but I did anyway.

“I hit off a tee for a few weeks and never told him.”

She went 2-for-3 in the championship game.

“I’m so competitive, I hate losing,” she said. “I remember the feeling walking off the field after losing the finals. I don’t want to fall short again.

“I felt like a kid in the candy store that day, playing in the finals. I wish everyone could have experienced that.”

Sharlize began catching under her dad’s tutelage at age 8. Sashel, who attended Arizona State and played professionally, started at age 7.

“They both caught on pretty quickly,” Kiko said. “I saw a lot of myself in the way they played.

“Catching is a grind. Both girls are into the game 100 percent.

“Sometimes, they’d play five or six games a day in the summer in some of the hottest places. They loved it.”

Even younger brother Sabian, who is 12, has taken up catching, though he also plays a little second base.

He doesn’t throw from his knees yet.

“When you put on that catching gear, it makes you feel invincible,” Kiko added. “It’s kind of funny how all three wound up playing my position.”

They wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Monahan is a freelance writer.

 

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