Softball

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Never Far From Home
One of the most athletic outfielders in Notre Dame softball history, Alexa Maldonado was invited to play with the U.S. Women's National Baseball Team last summer.
 
One of the most athletic outfielders in Notre Dame softball history, Alexa Maldonado was invited to play with the U.S. Women's National Baseball Team last summer.

Nov. 17, 2011

By Briana Coyne

Alexa Maldonado says she was three years old the first time she threw a ball.

At thirteen, Maldonado vividly remembers being on the mound for a win against Clark in the district baseball finals.

Now, as a senior on the Irish softball team, Maldonado credits the success she's had thus far to the unwavering support of her family.

"The way I describe myself to people is that I am very family-oriented," she says. "That is the first thing I say."

Growing up in Millburn, N.J., Maldonado comes from a very close-knit Italian-Puerto Rican family that is very active in sports. One sport in particular that is important to the Maldonado family is baseball.

Maldonado's father, Frank, played baseball at Manhattan College and now shares his passion for the sport with Alexa and her three younger brothers. His knowledge of baseball helped Maldonado properly learn the fundamentals so she could excel on the softball diamond.

"It was the coolest thing. He coached me all through my career. He still coaches me now. I've always looked to him for advice and trust that he knows what he is talking about."

Head coach Deanna Gumpf says the elder Maldonado's mentality when coaching Alexa played an important role in her development as an athlete.

"Because of his background, it made sense for him to work with her as a baseball player. He gave her great guidance and he was a great teacher for her," remarks Gumpf. "I think the best thing they ever did was treat her as an athlete and not as a girl. By treating her as an athlete, they taught her the nuts and bolts that every kid should know about the game."

Maldonado's mother, whom she calls "her best friend," played an equally important role early on by driving her to countless games, practices and lessons. This allowed her to become the best player that she could be.

 

 

"Both my parents have made me the person that I am today. They have done an unbelievable job raising me the right way, teaching me the meaning of hard work, passion, love, respect and most of all, family."

Maldonado also is active in her brothers' baseball careers. Whenever home, she is outside throwing and hitting with them as well as giving them pointers.

"All of my immediate family and relatives have been here for me my whole life. With every decision I have made, they have been there," Maldonado explains. "They have helped me make the best decisions possible for me."

There was one decision in particular that Maldonado was hesitant to agree with - her transition from baseball to softball.

"It was the summer going into eighth grade that I had to make the switch. I was devastated. I thought I was going to play high school baseball, but my dad suggested that I switch sports," explains Maldonado. "He said it would be more beneficial for me to do that when it came to looking to play in college. Now looking back on it, it was the best and most obvious choice."

This transition from baseball to softball was fairly effortless for Maldonado because of her strong understanding of the mechanics and fundamentals.

In her freshman year at Notre Dame, Gumpf said it was evident that being away from her family and home was a challenge for Maldonado. But it wasn't too long before she "figured out her place here."

Since then, Maldonado has proven to be a key player for the Irish leading the team in their 2011 campaign with the most runs (55), hits (74), doubles (14) and triples (3).

"If someone were to ask me on your team right now, who do you think has grown the most? I would say it's Alexa," remarks Gumpf. "I feel like she has become a great leader for our team."

Last spring, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) named Maldonado to first team all-Great Lakes Region honors. Earlier that season, during the UCF Invitational, Maldonado went 7-for-14 from the plate with three hits for extra bases (double, triple, home run) and had a slugging percentage of .929. This impressive performance resulted in Maldonado receiving a BIG EAST Player of the Week accolade.

"The one thing that has been her constant, her go-to, here at Notre Dame has been the game of softball. I feel that is home for her. No matter where she is playing," remarks Gumpf. "You know you are going to get the best Alexa on the field."

This past summer, Maldonado had the opportunity to return to baseball and play with the U.S. Women's National Team in Cary, N.C.

"When I am on the field it is the most amazing feeling in the world. It's an escape from the stresses of life. All that matters is the moment," describes Maldonado. "It is an unbelievable feeling to be so passionate about a simple game."

"I love watching her play," states Gumpf. "She looks like she is at home when she is playing the game."

For Maldonado, home has two different meanings, but both are strongly tied to one another.

Event Calendar

Delta

February 12
2:00 PM
Utah
Tempe, Ariz. (TSC Field 4)
February 12
7:00 PM
Kentucky
Tempe, Ariz. (TSC Field 4)
February 13
1:30 PM
BYU
Tempe, Ariz. (TSC Field 4)
February 13
4:00 PM
California
Tempe, Ariz. (TSC Field 4)
February 14
11:00 AM
Georgia State
Tempe, Ariz. (Farrington Stadium)
February 19
4:00 PM
Utah Valley
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 19
8:30 PM
Washington
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 20
1:00 PM
Cal Poly
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 20
6:00 PM
UCLA
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 21
12:00 PM
George Washington
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 26
1:15 PM
East Carolina
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
February 26
3:30 PM
UCF
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
February 27
1:15 PM
North Florida
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
February 27
3:30 PM
Bryant University
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
February 28
10:00 AM
Penn State
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
March 5
1:15 PM
Stony Brook
Fort Myers, Fla. (FGCU Softball Complex)
March 5
6:00 PM
Florida Gulf Coast
Fort Myers, Fla. (FGCU Softball Complex)
March 6
10:00 AM
Stony Brook
Fort Myers, Fla. (FGCU Softball Complex)
March 6
12:15 PM
Ball State
Fort Myers, Fla. (FGCU Softball Complex)
March 9
5:00 PM
Florida International
Miami, Fla. (Felsberg Field at FIU Stadium)
March 9
7:00 PM
Florida International
Miami, Fla. (Felsberg Field at FIU Stadium)
March 12
1:00 PM
Virginia
Charlottesville, Va. (The Park)
March 12
3:00 PM
Virginia
Charlottesville, Va. (The Park)
March 13
12:00 PM
Virginia
Charlottesville, Va. (The Park)
March 17
5:00 PM
Bowling Green
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
March 22
5:00 PM
Eastern Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
March 23
5:00 PM
Michigan State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
March 25
2:00 PM
Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y. (Skytop Softball Stadium)
March 25
4:00 PM
Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y. (Skytop Softball Stadium)
March 26
12:00 PM
Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y. (Skytop Softball Stadium)
March 30
5:00 PM
IPFW
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 2
1:00 PM
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 2
3:00 PM
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 3
12:00 PM
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 5
5:00 PM
IUPUI
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 7
5:00 PM
DePaul
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 9
1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 9
3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 10
12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 16
12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va. (Tech Softball Park)
April 16
2:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va. (Tech Softball Park)
April 17
1:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va. (Tech Softball Park)
April 19
6:00 PM
Western Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 20
6:00 PM
Valparaiso
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 24
3:30 PM
North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Anderson Family Field)
April 24
5:30 PM
North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Anderson Family Field)
April 25
7:00 PM
North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Anderson Family Field)
April 27
6:00 PM
Butler
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 30
1:00 PM
Louisville
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 30
3:00 PM
Louisville
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 1
12:00 PM
Louisville
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 7
1:00 PM
North Carolina State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 7
3:00 PM
North Carolina State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 8
12:00 PM
North Carolina State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 12
TBA
ACC Championship Quarterfinals
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Softball Stadium)
May 13
TBA
ACC Championship Semifinals
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Softball Stadium)
May 14
TBA
ACC Championship Final
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Softball Stadium)
May 20
TBA
NCAA Regionals
Campus Sites
May 21
TBA
NCAA Regionals
Campus Sites
May 22
TBA
NCAA Regionals
Campus Sites
May 26
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus Sites
May 27
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus Sites
May 28
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus Sites
May 29
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus Sites
June 2
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 3
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 4
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 5
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 6
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 7
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 8
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)

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