Paschal named to USSSA All-American softball team
Published 8:25 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2019
VALLEY — At only 11 years of age, Allie Paschal personifies the definition of dedication.
“We see her try her best all of the time,” Melleny Paschal, Allie’s mother, said. “She’s so dedicated. She’s more dedicated than I know that I ever would have been.”
Back in April, the second baseman and outfielder Paschal played in a tournament in Cartersville, Georgia before going down to Viera, Florida overnight to try out for the United States Speciality Association (USSSA) All-American team. Her parents drove her down on no rest, while Paschal got approximately three to four hours in the car.
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“There is no way that when I was 11, I would have went out and played softball all day and then get up the next day and go practice,” Melleny said. “There’s no way. She’s so dedicated and puts in so much effort that it amazes me. She amazes me.”
Paschal had a try that her mother said could have gone better, but her parents still encouraged her on the ride back home.
“We were like ‘you did your best. We just wanted to see what your numbers were so we could know what we needed to work on,’” Melleny said.
A couple of months later, Paschal found out that she made the team.
“It’s nice because it makes me feel like I’m good at softball,” she said.
Paschal, who’s going to attend W.F. Burns Middle School this fall, recently turned 11 years old and was the starting catcher for the Valley 9 and 10-year-old softball team that won the district tournament for the first time in Valley softball history this summer.
The growth of the sport of softball in the Valley is something that parks and recreation athletic director Mark Hudmon previously said that he’s noticed.
With Paschal’s latest accomplishment, the sport has added another milestone to its growth in Valley.
“I think it gives [younger players] something to look up to,” Melleny said. “A lot of the younger girls have not been exposed to travel ball. I think this gives them something to look at, something to look up to and gives them a role model to focus on and to become better. Just like when the team went to Talladega [for the district tournament] and they won, those little girls were the happiest little girls on the planet. I think it makes them want to continue to play.”
Paschal is accompanied by baseball player Bryant Hopkins as Valley natives who have been named USSSA All-Americans this summer.
“It’s amazing. It shows that they have put in a lot of work to accomplish things,” Melleny said. “Being from a small town, we don’t get a lot of spotlight, attention on our kids, and for them to go and demand a spotlight, to travel to Atlanta like [Hopkins] did, or to travel to Viera like [Paschal] did, they go and demand the focus. It’s just like on Tuesday when the boys won state. It brings the spotlight to them, and I think it’s amazing.”
Growing up, Paschal said that she hopes to play softball at Auburn University and one day gets a chance to play in the Olympics. Her keys to get her to her ultimate career goals are similar methods that she used to become an all-American.
“I’ll have to put in a lot of work,” she said. “[I believe I work so hard now] because I enjoy playing. I really enjoy playing.”