El Camino College Union

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For this EC freshman, the sky is the limit, and her journey is just getting started

Diamond+Lewis+at+the+El+Camino+College+versus+Citrus+College+game+on+Friday%2C+April+6%2C+2018.+Photo+credit%3A+Jack+Kan
Diamond Lewis at the El Camino College versus Citrus College game on Friday, April 6, 2018. Photo credit: Jack Kan

Diamond Lewis at the El Camino College versus Citrus College game on Friday, April 6, 2018. Photo credit: Jack Kan

Diamond Lewis at the El Camino College versus Citrus College game on Friday, April 6, 2018. Photo credit: Jack Kan

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Tall, athletic, with shoulder length black and burgundy braids and a welcoming smile, Diamond Lewis walks confidently to home plate. Before she steps into the batter’s box, she takes three practice swings, looks at her bat, then up at the sky and says, “breath.” She then steps inside the rectangular box marked with white chalk, clears the dirt with both feet, and settles into her batting stance.

Diamond Lewis is an 18-year-old softball player and biology major at El Camino College. She’s a right-handed pitcher and third baseman for the Lady Warriors with stats that have earned her favorable notice.

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Diamond Lewis at the El Camino College versus Citrus College game on Friday, April 6, 2018. Photo credit: Jack Kan

Diamond was featured in the March 26, 2018 edition of Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Faces in the Crowd.” It was Liz Hazell, El Camino College volleyball head coach, who nominated Lewis for the mention in the renowned sports magazine.

“It was a shock, honestly. I was happy, but like, OK Diamond, that’s a step. Let’s keep going to your bigger goal because you don’t want to stop there or be satisfied with what’s going on,” Lewis said.

Diamond has a few copies of the magazine at home. She says her mother, Maryanne Nancy posted the story to all of her social media accounts. Her family was excited for her, but they also felt the same as she did, saying, “OK, what’s the next step?”

Her next step was onto the baseball diamond at Dodger Stadium. Diamond was asked to throw out the ceremonial “first pitch” by the Dodgers organization on April 11.

“This is everything you worked for,” Diamond recalls thinking as she stood on the pitcher’s mound at Chavez Ravine. “This is what them long days (brought) when coach had to kick you off the field because you wouldn’t listen, because all you wanted was grounders.”

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Diamond Lewis at the El Camino College versus Citrus College game on Friday, April 6, 2018. Photo credit: Jack Kan

Her hard work and dedication was not unnoticed by her former high school coach, Diane Brouhard, varsity head coach at Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles.

“Diamond led by example. She had questions, wanted longer practices, more reps during drills, constant critical analysis of her swing and other skills . . . more, more, more,” Brouhard said.

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Diamond Lewis at the El Camino-Mt SAC game at home on Wednesday, April 18. Photo credit: Jack Kan

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Diamond Lewis at the El Camino College versus Citrus College game on Friday, April 6, 2018. Photo credit: Jack Kan

Lewis’ competitive spirit and self-motivating nature is anything but average. Attributes that she has cultivated since birth. She says when she was younger she was cocky, but that’s how it was growing up in her house with two brothers, one younger, Christian, and one older, Aaron, and a very strong mother.

“You strike out you’re a loser” she said, describing how her and her brothers joked with one another. “It wasn’t me just competing with the players on the field, it was also me competing at my house.”

It was that same drive that motivated her to pursue softball. Diamond has played the game since she was nine years old. But it wasn’t until she hit high school that she realized, “OK, this is something I actually love. I’m not just doing it to be the best. This is something that can change my life and it really brings me joy,” she said

Although Diamond says she wasn’t heavily recruited her senior year, she does remember when Jessica Rapoza, ECC softball head coach, stopped by one of her practices and also watched one of her games at Hamilton High.

Diamond liked how friendly and welcoming coach Jessica was and she soon decided, “Yeah I want to play for her.”

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Diamond Lewis at the El Camino College versus Citrus College game on Friday, April 6, 2018. Photo credit: Jack Kan

Coach Jessica recalls being told about Lewis, “I heard about (Diamond) from a local high school coach. I chose to recruit her because she had such great energy with her teammates and she had a great mix of athleticism and intelligence,” Rapoza said.

Diamond says that once she got to El Camino, “Everything was different. The speed of the pitches, the cheering in the dugout, everybody being on the same skill level,” she continues, “Everybody going out there and playing for a purpose instead of going out there just to play because they want to get out of P.E. or something.”

Diamond describes her first season here at ECC as “a life changing experience.”

While she treasures her involvement at El Camino, Diamond knows there is more for her after this.

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Diamond Lewis at the El Camino College versus Citrus College game on Friday, April 6, 2018. Photo credit: Jack Kan

“This is what I’m made for. This is what God has called me to do and I’m going to do it,” Lewis said.

Diamond believes she has a bigger calling than just being an athlete. She wants to make a difference.

“As long as I can influence somebody else and be an impact on somebody’s life, then that’s all that matters,” Lewis said.

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Diamond Lewis at the El Camino College versus Citrus College game on Friday, April 6, 2018. Photo credit: Jack Kan

Diamond has set her goals high and she is has an incredibly determined attitude. She plans to tryout for the USA Softball Junior Olympic team and she wants to go on to play for Team USA in the future softball Olympic games. And then one day, play professionally for the United States Specialty Sports Association.

“I’m a firm believer in god and I believe that he is working with me the same way that I am working with him. Our project is not over,” Lewis said.

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For this EC freshman, the sky is the limit, and her journey is just getting started