Looking ahead, Valencia softball’s Ally Shipman can see a bright future at University of Tennessee. Behind her, she can see a stat line from her junior year that includes 15 home runs, a .726 on-base percentage and a 1.363 slugging percentage.
For those two reasons – and more – Shipman was named a MaxPreps Preseason All-American on Tuesday.
“It’s a huge honor,” Shipman, who is entering her senior year, said. “I’m very grateful for it, but my main goals for this season are to win CIF and hopefully I’ll be an all American at the end of the season too.”
Shipman was one of five catchers from around the country to make the list and one of two catchers from the state of California to be mentioned.
She’s dedicated her offseason to the weight room, adding strength and power to her swing.
But Shipman says that her greatest area of progress in varsity softball has all been mental.
“I’ve really grown with my knowledge of the game and my ability to pick out good pitches to hit,” she said, “and my pitch-calling behind the plate has been really huge.”
Last season, the Vikings were eliminated by Orange Lutheran in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals. They lost 1-0.
“We’re still pretty bitter about that,” Shipman said. “We’ve been practicing super hard and we can’t wait to be out there and get started.”
Valencia was one of three Santa Clarita softball teams to earn a spot on the CIF-SS Division 1 preseason watchlist, along with Hart and Golden Valley.
The Vikings begin their season on Feb. 24 against Canyon Springs of Moreno Valley at the Stu Penter Classic in Corona.
While Shipman has plenty of success behind her and even more ahead of her, the focus is on the present.
“I try to focus on it game by game, at-bat by at-bat,” she said. “I try not to think too far into the future. I like to play here and now and just focus on this season before I even approach going into college.”