Pike Lib hires Tori Sanchez to lead softball program

Published 11:53 am Wednesday, June 21, 2023

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Pike Liberal Arts School has brought in a former college softball pitching ace to lead the Lady Patriot Softball program with the hiring of Tori (Free) Sanchez as the school’s new head softball coach.

Sanchez is a native of Luverne, where she was a captain of the softball, basketball and volleyball teams at Luverne High. During her dominant senior season, Sanchez recorded 262 strikeouts and an eye-popping 0.55 ERA. She holds the Luverne record for ERA, wins, strikeouts, shutouts and no-hitters. She earned All-State and AHSAA North-South All-Star honors as a senior.

Sanchez went on to become a star pitcher at St. John’s University in New York in college. Sanchez holds the St. John’s record for career strikeouts with 589 and was St. John’s ace pitcher during the most successful stretch in school history. Her 207 strikeouts in 2013 ranks second in school history and her 129 total appearances is tied for first place in school history.

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Sanchez earned All-Big East honors three straight seasons – and four total – and was named the Big East Pitcher of the Year in 2015. During that season, she boasted a 2.33 ERA with 124 strikeouts in 120 innings pitched.

After an injury prematurely ended her 2016 campaign, Sanchez returned in 2017 and once again was named All-Big East pitcher after mowing down 96 batters and holding a 3.32 ERA in 92 and 2/3 innings pitched.

Sanchez’s nephew, Jacob Free, was a star quarterback at Brantley High School and went on to play quarterback at Troy, starting six games in 2020. She married former St. John’s baseball player Tyler Sanchez.

After her stellar playing career, Sanchez remained with her alma mater as pitching coach in 2018. After two years as an assistant coach at the college level, Sanchez returned to Alabama as the head softball coach at Highland Home High School, where her Lady Flying Squadron have made it to the 2A Regional Tournament in two of the last three seasons.