Valencia softball’s Ally Shipman and Shea O’Leary both played their senior seasons with a focus on their mental game.
But the Foothill League Player of the Year and the Foothill League Pitcher of the Year, respectively, did so in very different ways.
Shipman was a menace at the plate and, as a result, was intentionally walked 34 times.
“It’s difficult to get into a rhythm, but it was good for me to work on my mental game,” Shipman, who was also the league’s 2017 Player of the Year, said.
“…I know that it’s meant as a compliment, but I do just want to get out there and hit.”
Shipman, a Tennessee commit, still managed to hit .356 with seven home runs, 25 RBIs and a .528 on-base percentage in her senior campaign.
O’Leary’s mental adjustments were a little more lighthearted. As the Vikings’ go-to girl in the circle, staying calm and not succumbing to pressure were always on the agenda.
“I always just try, when I’m pitching in a lesson or when I’m on the field, I make sure that I’m mentally prepared or I go out there and I’m just having fun,” she said. “I just try and go out there and have fun and not get stressed out.”
O’Leary, who is headed to Texas to continue her playing career, listens to country music before games as a means of relaxing and writes “Believe, breathe, achieve, balance,” on her wrist, in addition to her jersey number.
The result a perfected changeup and an improved rise ball. The back-to-back league pitcher of the year finished the senior season with a 1.30 ERA and 288 strikeouts across 214.67 innings.
The duo dialed in to help Valencia to its third consecutive Foothill League title an appearance in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 tournament.
“It was so much fun and I loved playing with (Valencia head coach) Donna (Lee) because she was so competitive,” O’Leary said. “And having that competitive spirit helped us achieve winning the Foothill League and some tournaments over the years.”
All-Foothill League First Team
Noel Dominguez, senior, Valencia
Emma Bramson, freshman, Valencia
Kelia Paragas, senior, Valencia
Cassidy Cangemi, senior, Golden Valley
Jasmine Carbajal, senior, Golden Valley
Sophia Medellin, junior, Golden Valley
Libbie McMahan, sophomore, Saugus
Hayley Mihut, freshman, Saugus
Brooke Marquez, junior, Hart
Gianna Lombardi, junior, West Ranch
All-Foothill League Second Team
Alexis Genovese, senior, Valencia
Amarys Miller Godsey, senior, Valencia
Vanessa Felix, junior, Golden Valley
Jessica Cordola, senior, Saugus
Dallas Andrews, sophomore, Saugus
Jordyn Gasper, senior, Hart
Aly Kaneshiro, sophomore, Hart
Sara Olson, junior, West Ranch
Kailee Powell, senior, Canyon
Melissa Spencer, senior, Canyon
Meisha Murray, senior, Canyon
Marissa Alcaraz, senior, Golden Valley
Meghan Dragoloski, senior, Hart
Makayla Lopez, senior, Saugus
Lani Paragas, freshman, Valencia
Jenna Rorick, junior, West Ranch