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Farina putting in the work

by Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor

At times a player needs to do wheat they need to do to realize their dreams. That could be playing at home with friends or playing out of state to get better.

The commitment to play out of state every weekend is a daunting one. To have to leave and travel, just to come back home again. But, to realize your dream sometimes you need to sacrifice.

Ava Farina, of Orchard Park High School, knows what it takes to make sacrifices. She started playing national ball at the age of 13 years old, and that’s when she started emailing college coaches about her intentions of playing at the next level.

It’s never too early to get your name out there.

“It’s a huge commitment to play out of state. I learned about discipline, because most of the work I do on my own,” stated Farina. “It gets hard doing all of my practice on my own, which I know a lot of girls feel the same way. So, my dad put a little group together called “Sunday Squad.” It’s a group of girls from the area that play for out of state teams. We practice every Sunday for two hours, and we work on whatever the girls want to work on for that week. It’s super good for me to kind of get that team feeling when I am not able to see my Virginia girls for awhile.”

One of the great things about playing travel ball is the fact you get to travel. Not many people can say that have been to close to 20 different states just to play softball.

Farina has been able to experience a lot in her short softball career. Seeing different states, making new friends, and playing against some of the best players in the country.

“It’s an incredible experience to travel the country and meet so many amazing people,” stated Farina. “I have been to more than 20 different states to play softball, which is something I am grateful for. I can’t really put into words the impact that travel softball has had on me. Not only do I get to play against the best players in the country, I get to play with them.”

During her short time playing travel, Farina has learned a lot about herself. She says it’s an amazing feeling to see her friends starting to look at their dreams schools. All these girls who have grown up together, and played together are now realizing that their dream is right there in front of them.

It can be a surreal experience.

“I have learned a lot about myself. The first thing I learned about was making connections with people from all over the country,” stated Farina. “It’s a surreal experience to see most of the girls that I grew up with, starting at their dream schools. I have also learned a lot about collaboration between other players. There is something to take away from every interaction, and I definitely have started to take advantage of that opportunity.”

Farina’s dedication to her sport as paid off as she signed to play softball in college at St. Joseph’s. Playing at the next level has always been a dream of hers, and the hard work she has put in over the years has paid off.

The recruiting process is a tedious one at times. School’s are looking for a certain kind of player/person, and the recruit is looking for a certain kind of school. At times, there can be that frustration factor that a recruit may never find the right fit.

Farina is happy to have the process over, if for anything, now she can focus on just playing softball again. She doesn’t need to focus on playing in all the showcases and worrying if she has a bad game if the colleges won’t come calling.

“It is definitely a relief to have my recruiting done,” stated Farina. “The process is certainly a lot to handle. I am super excited to just focus on my game, and my goals, for my future at St. Joseph’s.

In the circle, Farina has been lights out this season. She has ben dominating the opposing batters all season long. It goes with the type of mentality she has.

Farina feels like she works better under pressure, so why not pitch that way. When she is in the circle, she is locked in. She pictures the tying runner on third, waiting to score. It’s her job to make sure that runner doesn’t cross the plate.

“When I step on the mound, I think “tie game, winning runner on third,” stated Farina. “I have learned to pitch better under pressure, so taking on that mindset works really well for me.”

She also recognizes that she isn’t perfect. There is always something to work on, either from last game, or last season. Farina always makes sure to take it one batter at a step, one game at a time.

It’s the mindset that has worked for her so far this season. Living in the past won’t help you in the end.

“I recognized the things that I needed to work on from last year, and I am prioritizing them this season,” stated Farina. I always try to take it one batter at a time and be present. Living in the past benefit me now.”

Farina also loves to mix it up at the plate. Sometimes she needs to get out there and rake a little to take the pressure off herself in the circle. Hitting her for is one of her favorite parts of the game.

“Hitting is one of my favorite parts of the game,” stated Farina. “My favorite part about hitting and pitching is that when I am not performing well offensively, i can make for it defensively, and vise versa. Hitting is very similar to pitching in the sense that I have to be disciplined and efficient. Being a pitcher also benefits my hitting because I can read spin, and usually know what the pitches a pitcher is throwing.”

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