LAMPASAS — Alyssa Maldonado knows not to believe everything she reads on the Internet.
So, when the Lampasas sophomore saw a post on Facebook stating she was recognized on the Texas Sports Writers Association Softball All-State list, she was skeptical.
“At first, I really thought it was a joke,” Maldonado said, “but I started reading it, and my face just lit up. It was just so exciting.”
After leading the Lady Badgers in hits, batting average, RBIs and runs while guiding the program to the Region I-3A semifinals, Maldonado was placed on the all-state team as an honorable mention at shortstop.
While Maldonado has confidence in her abilities, she never expected to receive such an honor so early in her career.
“I’ve always dreamed about something like this, but I never would have thought it would happen this year,” she said.
Maldonado’s statistics merit the accolade, however.
One season after the team produced just eight victories, Maldonado’s play led a resurgence for the Lady Badgers, helping the program return to the regional semifinals for a third time in the last four years.
She finished the season with 63 hits, including team-highs in both doubles (20) and triples (4), and connected on nine home runs. Additionally, her .488 batting average led to 53 RBIs and 43 runs scored.
Defensively, Maldonado produced a .898 fielding percentage, recording 48 putouts and 58 assists.
“There is no fear in that kid whatsoever,” Lampasas head coach Cassie Crabtree said. “She comes out to every game and every practice like it was her last. She is always up for the challenge, and no matter what it is, she is ready when it comes her way. That is what makes her so special.”
Now, with the recent recognition providing additional motivation, Maldonado is ready to do it all over again.
“I am so ready for next season,” she said. “This just sets the tone. I just have to keep working hard and keep up everything that I’ve been doing.”
Lampasas went 26-10 last year, climbing as high as No. 4 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s Class 3A poll before finishing the season in an eight-way tie at ninth.
Along the way, the Lady Badgers suffered through a losing skid during District 8-3A play but concluded the regular season in thrilling fashion, beating Burnet on the road to clinch a playoff berth before upsetting then-No. 2 Kennedale in the area round.
Following the season, Maldonado was named the district’s co-offensive player of the year with Gatesville’s Blayne McGhee and was placed on the Killeen Daily Herald’s All-Area First Team.
But Maldonado’s personal highlight of the year came this week with her all-state recognition, and moving forward, she intends to make the prestigious list in 2015 as well.
Unlike this year, though, she does not expect to be alone.
“I was really surprised that I didn’t see anybody else on the list,” Maldonado said. “We all deserved recognition. Our team was just amazing, we really work together, and we’re just a good group. I seriously doubt I’ll be the only one next year.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org