Featured Athlete: Ava Shasha


Fadel Kafel

Senior captain of the girls softball team, Ava Shasha, talks about what it takes to be successful on and off the field.

Prowl: What inspired you to start playing softball? 

Shasha: “What inspired me to play softball was my dad. Growing up my dad and I would play whiffle ball for hours together, which is where I really started to love the idea of a game consisting of hitting and throwing. So, when I was about 11, I told my mom I really wanted to play softball, so she signed me up, and before my try out, my dad came over and helped me practice catching, fielding, and hitting. The rest is pretty much history.” 

Prowl: What do you think are the key skills that make someone a successful softball player? 

Shasha: “Honestly, for me, the most important skill that someone could have to be a successful softball player is self confidence. This was a skill that all my coaches have stressed on me, which I now stress on younger players. Everything comes down to confidence. If you say to yourself  ‘I can’t do this’, then you are going to start believing you cannot do it, then you aren’t going to get the results you want. You have got to have confidence in your abilities, and believe you can, because that’s the only way to success.” 

Prowl: What has been your most memorable game or moment in your career? 

Shasha: “My most memorable moment in my career so far was during last summer when my team and I were playing in the game that determined who would be playing in the championship game the next day. We were all nervous that day, because we heard about the starting pitcher on the other team, and she was really good, so good even the best hitters in the league were struggling against her. My first at bat against her, the first pitch, she just blows it by me. So I stepped out of the box, I took a deep breath, told myself to start my swing earlier, and not to get too jumpy in the box. I got back in the box, next pitch I hit a double. That game I ended up going 3-3, and my team and I mercied the other team 11-1, in 4 innings. It wasn’t the fact that we won by a big margin; it was the fact we all came into the game on edge about the pitcher, and ended up being highly successful off of her.” 

Prowl: How do you deal with pressure during a game, and how do you stay focused? 

Shasha: “How I deal with pressure during a game is, I take a deep breath, get relaxed, and then depending if I am on the field, or up at bat, I think about where I should throw the ball if it comes to me, or what pitches I should expect when I am up to bat. Complicating situations always makes it worse, so I do the opposite; I simplify it as much as I can, which is, it’s a game of catch, throw, and hit.” 

Prowl: Who has been the biggest influence or role model in your softball career? 

Shasha:I can’t say there is just one person who has been the most influential on my softball career. My mother, and sister have been by my side since the start, sitting hours in the heat, or sitting hours in the freezing cold to watch me play. They have been troopers. Going back to my dad, he has pushed me to work harder and harder, and really he was the first one to get me into the game.” 

Prowl: What life lessons have softball taught you?

Shasha: “In my opinion softball, and baseball are just like life. You win some battles, you lose some battles, but no matter what happens, you have time to come back, and move forward. Also like life, one situation can change everything, one swing, one hit, one catch, can quite literally change the entire outcome of a game.” 

Prowl: How do you balance your athletic and academic life during the softball season? 

Shasha:Honestly, as a senior, especially, it is easier to balance my athletic and academic life. From 7:25 am-2:00 pm, I am a student, from 2:01 pm-8:00pm I am an athlete. That is just how I go about it.” 

Prowl: What are your goals for your softball career? 

Shasha: “My biggest goal for my softball career is to be remembered not for my skills, and stats, but for my leadership, and energy I bring to a team. Nothing feels better than knowing people feel comfortable with you, and knowing they feel you are someone they can come to for anything.” 

Prowl: What advice would you give to young players who are beginning to play softball? 

Shasha: “The advice I would give to young players who are just starting up is have fun with it. Don’t focus on all the analytics, and numbers. Focus on enjoying the game. It’s not about the numbers; it’s about the kind of person you are on, and off the field, and the amount of effort you put in.” 

Prowl: How do you deal with injuries or setbacks that occur during the season? 

Shasha:So, up until my junior year of high school, I had never had an issue with injuries, but then about 6 games into the junior season, I got a concussion. The doctors originally told me, 2 weeks out of softball, which then turned into 2 more weeks, and that pattern continued for some time, until I was told I would not be cleared to play for the rest of the season. This was hard for me to hear, because my freshman year there was no season because of the pandemic, and now I would miss most of my junior season. But, I knew my physical wellness came first. But I can tell you, the second I was cleared I was back on the field playing for my summer ball team. Although it sucks, mental, and physical wellness is always the first priority.”