The Ste. Genevieve Dragons tied a team record last season with 15 wins on the softball diamond. Alyssa Huber was a big contributor to those wins. In December, she signed on to play for the Mineral Area Cardinals after her senior season with the Dragons.
Unfortunately, Huber’s senior season hasn’t had a chance to get underway this year. She was hoping to build on a nice junior season where she did damage both in the circle and at the plate. Last year, she went 10-6 with a 4.50 ERA as the main workhorse for SGHS. She pitched over 85 innings and struck out 65 batters. From the plate, she hit .508 with six doubles, a triple, and three home runs. She drove home 24 runs, had an on base percentage of .610, and a slugging percentage of .797. She earned first team MAAA honors while the team went 15-7 and lost in the district championship game.
Huber had an opportunity to speak of her career at Ste. Gen, and what she sees for her future at MAC and beyond.
Q: Why MAC? Why did you end up choosing to further your career there?
Huber: “I chose MAC because it really just felt like the right thing to do. When I toured, Coach Dave Guemmer made me feel super welcome and made it feel like home. I also had talked to some former players there, and many said they loved it. Along with this, I knew they had a good program for teaching, and my credits would transfer easily. I felt like it was the perfect balance of school and softball, and would allow me to continue to pursue my softball dreams and help me with my career goals.”
Q: What other schools did you consider?
Huber: “I had toured Jeffco, and I think Jeffco has an amazing school and program. However, I just felt like MAC was a better fit for me personally.”
Q: How did you get your start in softball? Was it always a dream of yours to play college ball, and when did you think it was a realistic possibility?
Huber: “I started playing in town league when I was five or six. My dad is one of the biggest reasons I am where I am today. When I was about in sixth grade, I started taking pitching lessons. I started playing on a travel team in seventh grade, and I remember I always told dad I felt like I wasn’t good enough because I started playing later in the travel ball world. However, I just practiced that much harder to get where I needed to be. My freshman year, I starting playing with Jeffco Xpress. This team taught me a lot and made me understand the game in many more aspects. My coach, Scott Charleville, helped me become a stronger player and developed my love for the game even more. I am very grateful to play for his organization and have him as a coach. I knew I wanted to play in college when I was in seventh grade. My love for the sport just kept growing, and I knew I wanted to play as long as I could. I knew the possibility was realistic my sophomore year after I received all-conference and all-district awards and broke the school RBI record. I felt like I knew I had what it took.”
Q: Did you play other sports in high school? If so, why did you decide to eventually stick with just softball?
Huber: “I did not play any other sports in high school. Up until high school, I played volleyball. I ended up having to choose my freshman year between the two (because they were the same season at the time), and I ultimately chose softball. I feel like if the seasons would’ve changed my freshman year, I would have played both sports.”
Q: Who have been your biggest influences in the game, either directly or indirectly?
Huber: “One of my biggest influences is my pitching/hitting coach Carolyn Oquendo. I started going to her around my freshman year, and I was amazed by how much she would break down every aspect of the game and go into every detail. She made me want to continue to learn more and better myself. I also look up to Paige Lowary. She pitched at Mizzou and later transferred to Oklahoma after getting hit in the face by a hit ball. I watched a video on her story/journey after her injury, and it just inspired me. I loved watching her determination and drive to always win and be better. She was one of my favorite players to watch in the NCAA. My dad is my biggest supporter. He always pushes me to be better. He is constantly supporting me, coaching me, and helping me. It’s going to be strange for me going to college and not having him as my coach, but I know he will be my biggest fan. Without him, there is no way I would be the player I am today. He’s sacrificed a lot for me to be able to pursue my dreams, and be where I am.”
Q: What is the one memory from your Ste. Gen career that stands out the most for you, and why?
Huber: “My best memory is our victory over Park Hills last year during the district tournament. It was a big high and a big low for me, and I feel like this game taught me a lot about the mental side. Before this game, we were 1-1 with Park Hills on the season. In my previous years, we would constantly get beat by them. I wanted to prove that it wasn’t a one-time thing, and I remember before this game I told Coach Bonnell my nerves were through the roof. He told me to channel those nerves and focus them on what I can control, and block out the rest. During that game, I struggled at the plate. I could not hit, and I think I struck out three or four times which was not like me. I stayed out of my head and ended up pitching my best game of my high school career. This was when I learned the power of keeping a good mentality and moving on. It also felt so good to see how far we’ve come in this program.”
Q: When softball is over, what do you think we’ll see Alyssa Huber doing with her life?
Huber: “For me, I don’t think softball will ever end. My playing days may be over, but I hope to continue to coach and give back to the game. I am pursuing a degree in Elementary Education and hope to get a coaching job at the school district I teach at. My dream would be to teach and coach here at Ste. Gen. I want to continue to share my love for the game with girls who are just like me.”
Q: Finally, for all those little ones who have dreams to do what you’re doing, what’s the best advice that you could give them?
Huber: “My best advice to any little ones out there is to always remember your goals and dreams. Set an achievable goal each season and strive for that goal. Practice, practice, practice. Practice even on days you don’t want to. Most of all, remember why you are playing, and what you want to do. Enjoy every minute of it.”