Soon after Vista’s Megan Faraimo pitched UCLA over SDSU with a perfect game, she heard from her role model who doubles as her coach.
“Great, now let’s go watch the video and see where we can make improvements,” softball legend Lisa Fernandez said.
Faraimo wasn’t surprised with Fernandez’s suggestion. Being pushed is why Faraimo, a former Cathedral Canyon High standout, chose UCLA, so that advice was A-OK with her.
“She is constantly trying to make me get better every single day,” Faraimo said of Fernandez, a Bruins assistant coach who pitched UCLA to two national championships and also won three Olympic gold medals for the United States. “But when I first met her, I was a little star-struck.”
Now it’s Faraimo’s star turn, as she was selected by the San Diego Sports Association as one of its four amateur stars of 2020, along with Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave of Mission Hills High.
When Faraimo is throwing for the Bruins, it’s a tough climb to beat her.
Faraimo was Softball America’s pitcher of the year and an All-American, going 13-1 with a 0.85 ERA and 149 strikeouts over 90 1/3 innings in 2020.
Her sophomore season came after she was the Pac-12 Conference freshman of the year with a 16-4 record.
The 6-foot Faraimo hasn’t skipped a beat this year. With her pinpoint control and a riser that’s a downer for hitters, Faraimo is 6-1 with a 0.96 ERA, which includes her perfect game against SDSU on Feb. 24.
“When I was young, I fell in love with pitching and the aspect of competing on every single pitch,” said Faraimo, who also starred in prep volleyball. “And playing a team sport with the women around me, we are all goal-oriented to get to the same place and that is really cool for me.”
Even if Faraimo can run a bit hot. She often wears her visor low and her emotions on her sleeve.
“Oh my gosh, I can’t control them sometimes,” she said with a chuckle. “I get really competitive and do fist bumps and foot stomps. I think, ‘Where did that come from?’ ”
The fire didn’t fall far from the tree. Her father, Bill, was a Vista High quarterback. Her mother, Marcie, played softball and volleyball for the Panthers.
Plus her brother, Matthew, played volleyball on a campus that makes Faraimo’s ever-present smile fade. He attended USC and it’s been fight on since.
“We had one of the USC license plate frames on our car,” she said. “I made my parents go get one that read UCLA.”
There’s also flags stationed around the house, split in half with each school getting its due.
What’s come full circle for the personable Faraimo is girls approaching her with wide eyes and big dreams. Faraimo is now on the receiving end of that adulation and it’s her time to pitch life lessons.
“I was like, ‘Wow, they really look up to me,’ ” she said. “I tell them to work hard, but everyone hears that.
“I also tell them it’s important for women growing up to be confident in themselves, especially playing a sport where you fail seven out of 10 times. You can’t define yourself by your failures.”
Faraimo, a political science major, can’t shake North County. She relishes visiting Oceanside Pier and if she’s throwing seashells into the ocean, it says here she’ll hit her target.
The San Diego Sports Association certainly did by selecting Faramio and she’ll be acknowledged at its 75th Salute to the Champions banquet on May 13.
“That was really super cool to be honored,” she said. “I enjoy representing where I come from on such a big stage at UCLA.”
We applaud that, and yes, it would be perfect to make it an eight-clap for UCLA’s Faraimo.