Proving Doubters Wrong
Updated: Aug 20, 2019
By Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor Photos courtesy of Marissa Calloway
If you follow softball in Western New York, you will know that Eden High School has been a dominating force for years. It seems every year Eden just reloads as they make their way to a Sectional playoff birth, and eventually a sectional title.
You will also know that it isn’t easy to crack the lineup of that squad. You need to be a pretty special player to be able to start earlier in your career.
For Marissa Calloway she came on the scene at an early age, and hasn’t stopped. She stepped right in and made the varsity team as a seventh grader and the rest they say is history.
“I was fortunate enough to make the varsity softball team in the seventh grade. Many people doubted I could play at the varsity level at 12 years old. I think their doubt went away during my first game of varsity when I hit a three run home run,” stated Calloway. “I came up and I worked very hard so I could have a starting spot on the team. My coach Marisa Fallacaro took a chance on me and I am happy I was able to prove to her that I was an asset to the team. I was also lucky enough to have two seniors, Hayley Kobie and Jill Murray, that welcomed me with open arms and believed in my abilities.”
Calloway has done everything for Eden during her couple years on the team. She has been able to hit with power and she has been a dominating force in the circle. She is a double threat every time she steps over the white lines.
But, it doesn’t come without practice. Calloway puts in the work that is needed to become a very good softball player. Since she excels at both hitting and pitching, that means Calloway needs to put in the extra time that most girls may not have to put in.
Calloway makes sure she puts the extra work in the cage to keep her hitting on point, but she also has to save time to get in the circle and throw as much as she can. It’s a double edge sword, but one she enjoys.
“I work on my hitting a lot and different ways to generate power for myself. I believe in my strength when i’m at the plate and I always try to hit the ball hard. My dad is a very positive influence on me, he works very hard with me on my hitting,” stated Calloway. “Most people don’t realize how much hard work you have to put in to be a good pitcher. Practicing a lot also helps me build confidence in my abilities. Believing in my infield and outfield helps me do my job more effectively.”
It’s not all softball all the time for Calloway, however. Playing all the time can lead to burn out. She has been encourage by her parents to be a normal teenager. They want her to experience everything it is to be a kid.
It’s a refreshing take considering a lot of parents try to live through their children when it comes to sports.
“There’s times of the year where I take breaks from softball. My parents encourage me to do things that other teenagers do and not just focus on softball,” stated Calloway. “I have time to hangout with my friends or play basketball while I still put in work on my softball skills a lot. I love the sport and my teammates so it’s hard to get bored with the sport.”
Playing at the varsity level is no easy task. Playing at the varsity level at such a young age isn’t easier. There are times when things can go wrong mentally. It’s easy to doubt ones self when things are going off the rails quickly.
Early on it seemed that Calloway always had to prove herself to the doubters. There were doubters that said she couldn’t play at the varsity level as a seventh grader - then she went out and smacked a three-run homer.
Playing with a chip on your shoulder can be a good thing. Everyday she steps out on the field, Calloway is proving to everyone she belongs.
“I didn’t really feel any pressure I just knew I had to work very hard to start on the varsity team. I continue to work hard to make the team more of a powerhouse than it is currently,” stated Calloway. “The mental aspect of every sport is just as important as the physical aspect in my opinion. Last year during my high school season I really had to work on the mental aspect of softball. People started to doubt me and I also started to doubt myself. That was a great learning experience for me and now I know that I have to stay true to myself and my talents. I am proud to say that I will never let that happen to me again.”
As soon as they high school season ends, Calloway will dive into the travel season. Travel ball is where players get noticed. Playing against top competition in WNY and beyond is a good way for college coaches to see what type of player you are.
Calloway has dreams of playing Division I softball and she knows for that to happen she will need pick up her game during the summer portion of her season. She knows a good showing over the summer can go a long way of her realizing her dreams.
“I’ve been playing for the New York Diamond Girls since I was 10 years old. My favorite part of playing is the friendships I’ve formed with my teammates. We all put in a great amount of work because we all love the game so much. That allows us to play at high level tournaments against some of the best players in the North-East and Mid West. It also allows me to meet and play against girls all over the country that I wouldn’t get a chance to play during high school,” stated Calloway. “My goal has always been to play Division I softball at a high level and become one of the best players to come out of WNY. I’m constantly striving to make my team better. I know I have to get stronger, faster and improve on my hitting, fielding, and pitching. I’m constantly working harder to improve all aspects of my game and I am truly thankful for all the people who have helped me throughout my softball journey.”