Irma Carrillo/Courier PCC softball pitcher Alyssa Madrid poses for a photo before practice at Robinson Park on Monday, March 21, 2016.

Alyssa Madrid was an unexpected addition to the softball team but as head coach Monica Tantlinger put it, she “has put the team on her shoulders.”

Madrid came to the team after the coach of her travel ball team recommended her to the PCC coaching staff, which was scouting another player on her team. This recruiting method is very rare in the collegiate softball world.

“We were looking at one of her travel ball teammates,” Tantlinger said. “Coming out, the coach said we may also want to look at Pica, which is what she goes by, and so we said yeah … and that’s how we found her.”

“She had some funky spin on her pitch and no one was really able to hit her, and we really liked her attitude,” pitching coach Stephanie Marshall said.

Madrid jumped at the chance to play softball at PCC.

“I couldn’t thank the coaching staff at PCC enough,” Madrid said. “The risk they took picking up a rec. ball girl is unheard of.”

Madrid started playing softball when she was eight and began pitching when she was 15.

“At first I didn’t like it,” Madrid said. “But I guess it just became a lifestyle and I got really attached.”

Madrid quickly found her niche playing softball and it became her own personal escape.

“It was a home away from home,” Madrid said.

Madrid is majoring in psychology but hopes that she will one day be able to play for the U.S.A. women’s softball team.

“That would be my all-time accomplishment right there,” Madrid said. “All the years and all the days, the blood, the tears, the hard work — that would make my dream.”

According to Marshall, it is Madrid’s competitive nature that set her apart from other players.

“She sets the tone for the team. She will do anything that she can to win,” Marshall said. “It makes her teammates want to play well behind her and do everything they can to win as well.”

Madrid will be returning next year to play her sophomore year at PCC. Her two favorite college softball teams are Arizona State and the Florida Gators.

“I’ve seriously said it out loud that I’m so glad she’s only a freshman,” Tantlinger said. “I think her sophomore year is going to be just as good, if not stronger, than her freshman year.”

Madrid’s driving philosophy on the mound is a quote from Orlando Hernandez.

“When you can’t pitch with your arm, pitch with your heart.”

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