Alyssa Garcia - UCLA
We head over to Westwood and start off with the red-hot UCLA Bruins and redshirt sophomore catcher Alyssa Garcia (2018). Over the weekend Garcia blasted her first home run of the season for #2 UCLA during a 3-1 win over visiting Oregon to open the series. The Bruins backstop was 3 for 6 (.500) overall against the Ducks, helping lead UCLA to the sweep of Oregon. On the season the Bruins are 31-3, 9-0 in the Pac-12 and winners of 24 straight games. The 9-0 start in conference play is the best in school history. Pitching and defense are a big reason for the Bruins success and Garcia has been extremely solid behind the plate receiving pitches from a talented staff.
Firecrackers Softball: The pitching has been outstanding this season. How much fun are you having catching this staff, and can you explain why they are so difficult to hit?
Alyssa Garcia: This bullpen is special. Everyone pushes each other to be their best and we are all working together to reach a bigger goal. Their determination for excellence is truly inspiring and refreshing. Megan (Faraimo), Holly (Azevedo), Lauren (Shaw) and Lexi (Sosa) are all effective because of their work ethic and how much they pay attention to detail in the bullpen.
Firecrackers Softball: Catchers are the unsung heroes of softball and never get enough credit. Who has been the biggest influence on your style of play behind the dish and when and why did you become a catcher?
Alyssa Garcia: My dad has been my biggest influence on my style of play behind the dish, and he has taught me everything I know. I have also always admired Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals) and how great his framework is behind the plate. I started to catch when I was thirteen and fell in love with the concept of game calling, framing and seeing the game from a different perspective.
Firecrackers Softball: What is it like getting to play for Kelly Inouye-Perez and Lisa Fernandez two legends at UCLA?
Alyssa Garcia: Coach I and Coach Lisa are amazing coaches, and I am so blessed to learn every day from the two of them. Coach Lisa is inspiring because of her level of expectations for us. She holds us at a high standard and pushes us to be the best version of ourselves we can be. Once you think you’ve hit your own standard she pushes you a bit more to expand your limits She is an absolute definition of never being fully satisfied and to get 1 % better each day.