Lerno sisters era ends at Southwest High
FROM LEFT: Sisters Maci, Megan and Melissa Lerno show off the many patches they¿ve earned during their era at Southwest High. That era ended this year when the youngest, Maci, graduated. (SERGIO BASTIDAS PHOTO / June 2, 2013)
Over the next four years she would go on to become one of the school’s greatest athletes and made a name for herself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the Imperial Valley and in San Diego.
Fortunately for the school, Melissa wouldn’t be the last Lerno to represent Southwest in athletics.
A few years later Megan Lerno would follow. Then it would be Maci Lerno’s turn to lead the Eagles.
This past week, Maci’s high school athletic career came to an end, signifying the finish to a storied family’s run at Southwest, in the Imperial Valley and in San Diego.
The big sister
For anyone who watched Melissa Lerno play softball in high school, it’s kind of funny to hear her talk about the players she coaches now.
“Yeah, I don’t think they really know (about me),” the 25-year-old said. “But, I think they’re starting to know. They’re digging and looking up more and finding out about my accomplishments.”
Lerno made her name as the most dominant high school pitcher of her era when she played at Southwest. With Lerno in the circle, the team wasn’t just one of the best in the Imperial Valley League, but the team was a perennial contender in the postseason.
Along with earning just about every award and honor tied to high school softball in the area, Lerno also wrote her own chapter in Southwest’s record books.
She finished her career with 689 strikeouts, 69 wins, 40 shutouts and 18 no-hitters.
After graduating from high school in 2005, she attended Palomar College for a year. There she was named the Pacific Coast Conference’s Pitcher of the Year and was a first-team all-state selection.
She chased that with a three-year run at California State University, San Marcos, where, in 2008 she was named to the all-region team.
She’s since earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, her master’s in education and is now a physical education teacher at Calipatria High, where she is also an assistant softball coach.
This last season she added pitching coach at Southwest to her growing resume.
“I love coaching. It’s so much fun to be able to hand down the skills I learned,” she said. “They truly believe in me and know what I say is right.”
And while she’s now passing on her knowledge to her players, she’s had plenty of practice with her own sisters.
“I think I did set a high bar for them,” she said. “But, I think we all had different careers.
“For me, I think everyone knew me as a pitcher, and just as a good pitcher,” she said. “But, Maci and Megan have also been really good at softball, volleyball and basketball.”