Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 3 years ago

Aleshia Ocasio | Average To Savage EP60

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the sixtieth episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring pro softball player of the Chicago Bandits' Aleshia Ocasio. Paul Guarino talked with Aleshia Ocasio discussing her time as a Florida Gator winning the National Championship, playing in the National Pro Fastpitch league, and chasing the 2020 Olympics with the Puerto Rico National Softball team! Follow Aleshia Ocasio https://www.instagram.com/AleshiaOcasio

This is the average to savage podcast with Paul Greno, everyone in anyone, athletes sets and much more. WHAT'S UP, everybody? On back for another episode of the average savage podcast. Or special guests today is pro softball player Alicia ocassio. Alicia, how's it going? I'm good, good, good. You're actually the first softball player on the show. Really Yeah, for sure, appreciate you coming on. So let's just jump right into it. When did you start playing softball? Seven years old. Born in Long Island. You know, my cousin's played softball on the field a lot and then coming to Florida, really got into it's a playing literally, you know, through the ball around with my dad. You know, he had answered to play for the key. So you've kind of live in his dream through me. So No, I've been done ball one. Just be a LM. Gotcha. Why? No, you said you've moved at a young age right from New York to Florida. Yeah, was in New York Island and Pacific and my dad and Florida. So I moved from at me when I was seven and then I go back and forth every summer and holidays and pretty much for another Gosha got. So you think like moving to Florida like had a bigger impact since you got to like play like all year around? Or I don't know if you did, but since the weather's warmer down there. I know that absolutely. Florida, like a lot of southern day California Texas, as I could breeding ground for Florida and playing topole year round outside certainly has its advantage. Even moving up here to DC and keeping the younger girls are being able to see the difference in the softball culture because, you know, during the winter months the girls are going inside. There's a crime of thing egins. They have to Bushyball, so they're pretty much donal what they have to do in order to say in softball state. Where Florida we can you know s we can Chan on Christmas days. So we're playing you around outside and we're again, you know, I would say, a lot more rats in more practice than you know people would in the northern state. Ye, no, don't. Going back to the high school. was recruiting process like well, you know, everyone has their own experience and I get asked the question a lot, mainly because I did commit the Florida still late bisild. You know a lot of girls commit the schools. When there may be spressman high school, they berball. I actually committed to the Florida gold closed by junior year. That was very unfall dicision. You know they're a great school, but you know I had a great junior year, great summer going in my unior year and you know I have aspirations to kind of aim for the best of us. So ID committed and Jim Law and actually called me a couple days after that and a couple other people were recruiting me, but my eyes on Florida. Their only our half away from wive in central Florida. So then and I actually went to visit them a couple days after he called and committed the very next week. So was kind of crazy but you know, bless the opportunity. Yeah, I asked basically every athlete that comes on just with the recruiting process. Just like you said, it was everyone's different. But so I know your pitcher primarily correct. I like to call myself an athlete, you think, primarily because I was in a circle lot Florida. But you know, wherever you needs me is who I'm going to play for. Puerto Rico. I actually start in that field and whenever they need a kitch, I was going to pitch, but I was kind of it was like one of my friendmaire positions out Florida, but it's just very wherever it he needs, that's where I'm going to be. Do you prefer either or no? I just I want to hit, I want to be in the lineup and you can tell me wherever and I'm going to give you all so that you have to so like coming out of high school, we're colleges asking you to like either be a full time position player, like a full time pitcher, or no, they were, you know, there was some...

...schools you know a little. It's all different in and softball school where, you know, we'd be playing our game and then a coach was our head coach to put us in a certain position. So you know I say that Short stop during the game. It's a coach likes me and need is a right fielder. If you'd have to coaches meeting right feel to be I play there. But you know, luckily to Wal we had multiple rocation about this senior crew me as an athlete and I truly appreciate that because a lot of people limit their act and kind of put them in a box. So that's just how my sperience last yeah, definitely. So going into freshman year at Florida, where were your expectations? You know, like any other you know, treshan coming in, I want to play, start and I want to be the first thing that you call on. And it was a little bit different coming in because when I did playing, I was a picture. I needed to improve my defensive skills, I needed to work on my hitting. So my primary position was a pitcher and you know, I did my part, but every year one and more. I was hungry. I wanted to play more and me and who long? I've had that conversation multiple times and gradually down to my senior year I started playing every game. So it's kind of a gradual thing where I started on the feeling while I was you know, the better that I got on the field. Yeah, definitely. I know you had a great year the year and you guys went on to win the national championship, and so what was that like? It was so real, I remember, you know, and you know, when we got that final out, I actually fell over like the fen because everybody was so excited we were pushing each other day. I was trying to get into the mounds, but it was the real and it's crazy, though, because people ask me, like my favorite moment when as a gator, and you know, winning a national championship is great, but one of my favorite moment is one my senior year. Jordan Matthews actually hit a walk off home line. So send us to the woman called worth series and I have never you know, self that like it. Dude, and a heart of pompeus that have a very especial consumes a person. But that moment too was just so, I don't know, so crazy. Yeah, and going back to the national championship was their point in that season. We're like, you guys knew you were going to win, like Whin it all? Well, nothing was all. The year that I came in, fifteen was my first year. They had a previous really won it the year before fourteen. Okay, so there was, you know, a lot of pressure. You you win, that's Champish, but you have a card under back. But you know, we took that and we you know, took it in me light of it, we worked harder. Thing that we had a cargo under back and we kind of dispersed to read through it because you know, it's hard to win back to back, is it really is? And I want to say that we knew, but we you know, you got to have that swag. So you got to have that shoot on your shoulder. We're walking in there with the purpose and that's how we want it. Yeah, definitely. And just like looking out your statue, had a great career and stuff like that. And what your did you think was your best? You're like, on paper it kind of look like it was your sophomore year. Yeah, pitching first. Sure, I think it was my sophomore year, really great year, but you know, without my defense, you know, you don't get those accolades. As a picture, your defense helps you out of time. Your offense went gage for you. Obviously you know there's pieces to puzzle, but we're not a pitcher. I mean without defense and offense, the picture really isn't anything. So it's to the rest of the team for you know, make an add yeah, definitely. In junior year you only started leving games as a pitcher and pitching nineteen games. So was that just like going back to where you're saying you're just a team player and you're just playing the field more absolutely. Like I said, if I'm hitting and I'm helping now, helping out in anyway I can that I'm fine. But you know, the transition is going from my sophomore years. For my junior year I think was Kelly Barnes. They'll stepping us from our freshman year to your sophomore year, and...

...we also had Delaney Gorley, who is an amazing pitcher when I don't those few feet watcher, but she has a nasty changeup and I looked for for a lot during my career. Cold but Kelly really steps up a year and you know, we were lacking in the out field a little bit, so I learned how to stay out. Feels a lot better than I did for and definitely right feeling, and that's why I played most minings and I faced where I was needed. But I said, I was a good play for sure. I mean a lot of people say that, but you actually did it like being a team player front. I think I gave all the credits to but I couldn't have done it without the coaching done about and coach Rocha and everybody else to coach me at Florida for the patient, for the far at a kind of balance, not only with myself being get to play and stuff, but, you know, teaching and helping these girls get better at their positions, and it's hard to play multiple as well. So you know, like I said, cloves coaches who did it, you know, put me in a box and learnity. Yeah, for sure, in like knowing that you want, but you wanted all your freshman year. I know you didn't. You guys didn't win it all again during your career, but you guys won't like the SEC titles and you're like all American. So like, what was that like to basically like, I mean you started at the top but then like basically never got back there. But I mean you still want. In general, I think my four years, and you know anybody in my class, to now Katie, to cool beak on this as well, there's it's pretty interesting the kind of road that, you know, we were on for our four years because if you look at it, our freshman year we won the world series. Our Sophomore Year, you know, we didn't go to the world series at all, and then going back to the world series my junior year, we lost it in the finals and then my senior year we didn't get to the finals at all, but we made it the world series, so we kind of got a pay stuff of it. All your humble views, for sure, but you know, those sec titles, we take pride in that, for sure. We take pride in every single year the work of us off so that we can, you know, prove threw ourselves and push ourselves to be the best being in the conference. Bro We will take the championships like a definitely. How many? How many total rings did you end up in day? Even one national TV to bring yeah, see that. It's still dope. Yeah, yeah, for sure. So when did you like realize that you could go pro and then that you wanted to go pro? I don't know if it was just like a spark in my head, you know, I think it was just a gradual understanding of what I wanted to do and will want to be. I wanted to play the high level or whether I'm at you know, playing for a looking title which will get the chance to qualify for the gear, or playing professionally the ESPF or going over the I just wanted to play about level and MPs, you know, gives me that, you know, gives players an opportunity to play the sport they love after they're done with the four years playing college. I knew. I just I wanted to get that experience in playing league. Yeah, definitely. And unlass year got drafted ten overall in the National Pro Fast Pitch League by the Chicago Bandit. So what was drafted like? I think story pretty funny, you know. You know people tell you they draft day there with their team and there is a room watching Boston the draft or their active draft and they need to get called. I was actually spouting watching it on my phone with my tutor. Is Pretty Funny Story and my phone was going in and out. It so real, fist, but it's just the real moment just to know that you're falls on it. You get place for something so much bigger than yourself. Again, profile this league and you know we're still growing, but you know there's still a lot of work to be done. Yeah, sixteen, they were trying to we're trying to, you know, follow Mlbach, but that's trying to get change up there,...

...grow ourselves. But the work product. Yeah, definitely. I checked it out and I saw there's like a Beijing team, so I thought that was pretty cool that they had like the features that Chinese national team players on there. Yeah, it's her interesting because in the MPs there's really two, I would say three, because Canada's in there. So they're an American teams are in the America's but you know, not here. Most of our teams where, you know, international teams who join the League like the shoegate Eagles, the off the covers and just you know, a couple other ones, but it was really just know each trip, the pride and probably add too more in Americas, but they have the dynamics for interesting. Yeah, how how overall, how is your like rookie experience? And I know you had another great season. They were two and no one save one, one point two, seventy or a twenty two innings and then I saw that you guys lost in the championship. Yeah, as the prime have a lot of great players who have big names and but they wasn't a good experience. I mean I was gone a lot of the timmer as well, because I do slay for teams of the ECHO's. We were competing receipt. But while there I've enjoys the experience. You know, I've more so the girls. Had A great time with the girls and really connected with them and that made it really fine and new experience very enjoyable. But it was nice because, you know, it's college. You wake up at five o'clock in the morning, go to your lip, go to your run, I'm have an appointment, attempt to be breakfast, all those different stuff and it's a lot of the stuff that he runs going on. But with pro it's a little bit more lax because of you from then. They say you have to buy, buy it, and rules and stuff, but a little more laid back and you kind of you know, the transition from college to pro I was more understanding of the type of player that I was and what I needed in order to see the best all the field that I should see. So I think that's really interesting, kind of laying itself a little bit more and because you know, the programs different, so you kind of gotta figure it out. Or Yeah, definitely once it been like I saw there was a former I meant there was a couple of your former teammates on your team on in the pros now. So what's happened like? And I saw that Kelly Barnhill that you just mentioned before, got drafted number one overall to your team this year. Yeah, I'm super proud of Kelly and you know what's the crazy thing is he's Florida. You've never had a number one draft pick and to go Kelly barnhill number one, to Chicago Bandage and they go number two and Mentran's one of probably the greatest care that'll walk through for it goes to the East a pride I who that's huge for our program and but you know, just to see the girls that I've played with the other prety much, all the pride and Delaney, Nicole some other ones and you know last year coach Rochers, who actually coached me, I'm not far. That was you know, it's actually can want in their songs with all the coaching stuff, was helping out the pride. It was Greatfull sporiy to kind of see everybody in a different light, like in a different element. All the different things that I was interesting for sure. Yeah, definitely that's pretty cool. And like how do you think the MPF COO like growly game and just become more popular? I don't know all the dynamics. I don't know all the stuff that goes on by close doors. I can't speak too much on what exactly we can do. I reached out to, you know, vettering of the League about a players Union. I was actually really influenced by the TASHA. She's part of her that. She has a voice arguing it. So I was really pleasure to kind of figure out and learn more about the MCS unions so that we can's I can be part of that and we can kind of have a voice the players of a voice for the League. That's just one stuff that I've taken to figure out what I could do the best of the week and I'm looking forward to hearing back from her for sure. I don't know if you noticed, but or you could answer this, but as like mlb ever like helped them out her in any way or anything like collabed or anything, I can't speak on I'm not sure. You know, there's always talk and there's always rumors, but I don't know anything concrete, so I can't if they did...

...a contribute to our league, that would be amazing. He's the will players don't have valery caps. So I think you know the time that the NTF is in around and the lack of, I guess, help that we've had from what I can see, is kind of kind of strange because you know the you know, Mina ta talk about this blot the NBA can vibe is up the NBA so beat. Were to have the help of the MLB behind that would mountains, I think, fore, but like I said, I don't know the dynamics, so I can't really get anything concrete, but asserts from, you know, my perspective. Yeah, for sure. And going into international plan where you played for team Puerto Rico. So how did all come about? And did, like the USA team member, try to pick you up from them? So I starting for the woman's national team and thousand and three and watch me at one of my high school games. I really had no idea they're coming on, but I actually grew and no hitter and that was pretty cool. But after that I started playing for them and then two years after that, a fifteen, I played for the woman's team my first year with the woman's team and we actually playing the same American Games and got a bronze medal. So that was pretty cool. But we know, we've gone to the manager of Public Columbia, the fans just competing and there's the best of us in the world. This summer we're actually going to Lema, Peru, to playing the Pan American games and then later that month, in August, where we have a chance to qualify for the two thousand and twenty eleven days in Canada. So the qualify for the Americas in Canada. The top teams will be able to qualify. But I can't speak too much. Tony was say, I've did loyal Puerto Rico and been there. Then there's The sun and I'll continue to be. Okay. That which is so. They have tried to pick you up, as you say, there's been there's been a conversation but, like I said, I've always been to Puerto Rico. Nothing about that has changed and stay tuned them. So was it really I would say conversations and not really conversation? Never really thought about it. Gotcha, Gotcha. They picked you up first. So yeah, you said, this summer is the qualifying games. So we are it like you have to like win the whole tournament or like a certain amount of games. The first qualifier was last year in Japan. So USA clinched the first birth of the two thousand and Twenty Olympics for softball. Japan already has their worth because they're hosting it. I'm not sure about the other countries. What Qui put the Americas are playing in Canada from the twenty five of August to the bender first thousand and thirteen, and the top two teams and that qualifier will be able to go to the back. Now, so where? Because number fourth in the world. But I think you know, it's going to be a little bit tough because Canada, who's number three in the world, of the next number five, going to be a tough qualifier. We only to get that fought. Yeah, definitely. And what would be like to actually qualify for the Olympics like? What would mean to you? A dream? These girls, you know, grow up with conspirations of playing in the Olympic so just the fill a dream and play for something just so much bigger, to grow the game and to just represent not only in the softball world but for Puerto Rico. I think it's going to be an amazing experience and I'll probably cry. My whole family was probably cry just because it's just such an honor to like be an Olympian. You look at Stacy Newman, who's coached me, Lauren Lavin. They vote Olympic and I looked up instrementously because of that and just because of the respect that I have for them. So being an Olympian and just a jam Contruy, yeah, for sure, and I think that will help softball in general. On the kind of I think it was two thousand and eight was the last Olympics they were in because they ended it for short time o until now, I guess. Yeah, you know,...

...it's crazy. And two and twenty four we won't have a softball the Olympics again. Paris, France pretty much, you know, denied the Softball Baseball and the twenty which is hardening. But you know, we're going to keep working. But I think I'm pretty sure that the country who has a bid for play. I'm not mistaken, but that's crazy that they're doing it for one year in the night, going to do it the following a little weeks. Yeah, it doesn't make sense, but you can I don't know if you can do anys of that now. Yeah, so I know just in the offseason right you're getting ready to do for a season your port and is you started to coaching at Howard universities. How's that been? It's been it's been fun. The girls are, you know, super coachable and they're just, you know, lighthearted, fun to be are. Out of US maybe experience really cool, but I'm all here too, so I'm not I'm not out there as I view some stuff, train girls and kind of work on the side as well, but I'm there like from help out to he's been really good in the process, as well as Jack and Jackson, who's actually on today. So that's been fun. And you know, this is she actually quick as well. He's from there and coach. This is our first bear. So it be kind of a transition, rebuilding years and we're, you know, pretty much going on five hundred this season. But, like I said, rebuilding here and she spending up those girls and bringing the new culture, teaching them, and those been really cool to watch, player strict go from one culture and kind of just learning the game all over again and turning them into savages. So like, yeah, definitely. What about? Was it kind of strange that you're only like a year older than them? You know, it's funny. McKenzie steel, who is a senior, picture on the the A team. She's actually holder them. You know, she's like you know you're older me, but I respect you because the experience is that you have a player like you are, so like I want to learn from you. Like ages and a thing. I'm still learning from players. I learned from players every day. So I don't think it's eating. I could think it's the student of the game thing. Yeah, for sure. I mean and you coming from Florida going to Howard. I mean it'd be different if you were like going to like a bigger, like a big school like Florida. You know the girls do. I'm welling to peace wherever and kind of spread my knowledge as a game and if I can, you know, impact one person, if I can help the team get better than I'm going to do, is by on me. Yeah, for sure. What advice would you give to a young girl I wants to be a pro softball player to keep working hard and compete. That's what people like to see. Be On the watch and compete always. One thing that I learned grown up to is not let my emotions get the best of me when I'm playing, and I think that's huge because it's easy to get out of character there's a lot of things in the game that are going to go you away, but to remain, you know, calmic, collected and revelient and just compete and just have that next page mentality, explain mentality and not worry about that. Just go after your own in the present and work on definitely ready for some fun questions. Sure you're nervous. Me Kind of the first one. Who's your favorite SOFTA player? Baseball players like growing up lot. I play shorts. Grow up just like her. I even got a Gruian Jersey because I wanted to go to see at a young age, but that dream kind of died down. But I also looked up to, you know, the big names, Jenny finish, just to go thattfter man. They were the cheese names grown up and a lot of girls look to them. But those are just some of the names that I looked up to as well. All Right, and what three jerseys would you want that you don't own right now? To Be Jersey, I need that for sure to go right there.

Probably Still Rocking Jersey, even though on Puerto Rico or USA Jersey. And then, funny, I love with a Tasha but I don't have one of Her Jersey to steal her answer. Go with clouds. Er. Well, there is there anything that you want to do this year that you never done before? All, one of my friends in stories went sky diving, pretty cool. So I'm thinking guy down in this year do something crazy element that's all, you know what I actually I want to qualify for the plans. Why? Olympics? That something to and what do you like to do in your free time when you're not playing softball or teaching softball? So I like to the outside. I like to go for walks and national parks, to go the springs and be outdoors, and I'm not going to go camping or anything, but I like to, you know, both the kind of a hun and just enjoy my environment. Is there any place you're dying to go to? Yeah, I actually I want to go to your Fi. I want to go to the UT yeah, I've heard a lot about it. Coach coach call from Florida. He always go camping and tells us about the stories. So that's one thing that I want to go. Do want to go? I don't know about for sure. Yeah, yeah, I feel you. I'm not. I'm good. I'm camping outside. Yeah, I'm cool for sure. Well, I appreciate you coming on and could you up to people know where they could find you on social media? For sure, for sure, a a and all platforms. I appreciate you coming out and good luck this season and good luck in the thanks I appreciate. Thank you so much, PA.

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