Alyssa Stockton has experienced her fair share of success during her 11 years in a softball uniform, but her biggest achievement was undoubtedly reached on Friday when she signed her letter of intent for California State University, Bakersfield where she will become one of the Roadrunners' pitchers.
“I've been wanting this since I was a little girl,” Stockton said. “My dream was to always be a collegiate athlete. Right now it's in my head like, 'Yeah, I'm going to be a collegiate athlete,' but once I step onto the campus and I go to my first day of school, I go to my first day of practice, I think that's when it's going to hit me.”
Stockton is a senior at Delhi High school where she has been the Hawks' ace pitcher for the past four years. As a sophomore at Delhi, Stockton made a name for herself by becoming the 2013 strikeout leader in the state of California with 325 strikeouts. In that same year she was also named Maxpreps First Team All-State Pitcher for small schools, Cal-Hi Sports First Team All-State Pitcher for small schools and First-Team All-League Outstanding Defensive Player for the Southern Athletic League.
Stockton followed with another impressive season her junior year and was named the SAL's First-Team All-League MVP Pitcher and Cal-Hi Sports First Team All-State Multipurpose Player as a pitcher and hitter. Her 2014 season, coupled with her play as a travel player, earned Stockton a spot as an All-Star in the USA Preps Nationals where she got an up close look at the working of fate.
After forgetting her glove on an adjacent field to where she was about to play, Stockton ran to retrieve it and ended up walking back with Bakersfield's pitching coach.
“She asked what position I played. I told her pitcher and she said, 'Ok, I want you on my team,'” Stockton said. “I just loved her coaching style and I kept in contact with her.”
The chance meeting didn't seal Stockton's decision to become a Roadrunner, however. She was still being recruited by the likes of CSU Dominguez Hills, University of Oregon, CSU Stanislaus and UC Davis, among others. According to Stockton, her decision was finally made after a campus visit to Bakersfield.
“I've been to so many different campuses, and so many different campuses felt like maybe this is the one, but I think going to the (Bakersfield) campus and meeting their team and walking around and meeting the coaches — I think meeting the coaches was my deciding factor because from the moment they met me they believed in me,” Stockton said.
Once she joins her new team in Bakersfield, Stockton will join a collective effort to rebound from last season's 15-40-1 overall record. While she knows she has much room for improvement once she transitions from high school to college, Stockton is more than ready to tackle the challenge.
“Obviously, it's going to be a lot more difficult. There's going to be good batters from number one to number nine,” Stockton said. “I've played at the 18 gold level; I've played in SoCal. I've played against girls going to UCLA, I've played against girls going to Oregon and I know that I can outsmart them if I just stay disciplined with my pitches.
“Staying focused every day is going to get me to the place I want to be. I feel like I have the right mindset, so definitely feel like I can be dominate,” she added.