Valencia Softball Star Winds Up for College
September, 2017 - Issue #156

"Fierce." "Remarkable." "Fiery." "Exceptional." "A force."

Do a Google search on Valencia pitcher Shealyn O'Leary and you'll find local, regional and national coverage on the senior softball phenom, each more flattering than the next. It's well deserved.

With all the awards, trophies and accolades, you'd think that O'Leary would have even just the smallest chip on her muscular shoulder.

She doesn't.

"Here's the best advice I can give anyone: Believe, breathe, achieve. You have to believe in yourself! I actually write this on my wrist all the time. I'll look down at my arm when I have runners on base, or if I'm struggling. I read it and say to myself, 'You've been doing this for so long. You can throw a strike! I'm going to do this!' Then I'll go on the mound and throw a strike. IT WORKS!"
Shealyn O'Leary
"I just try to go out there and have fun," she says. "For all these people who say that I'm really good or amazing, I have to say, I don't think much about it!"

What she does think about is the game itself. "It's a lot of mental work," says O'Leary. "Softball is a mental game. If you don't have a good mindset, you aren't going to get anywhere - and that's like life, too. You have to stay focused. You have to be strong and translate everything that's going on and prioritize."

That focus helped her achieve her biggest accomplishment to date. "Being able to get committed and going to University of Texas Longhorns - that's huge for me. It has been such an amazing experience to be able to take recruiting trips and see how I've improved over the years so that I could be in a position to go to a top college to play softball."

It has been a long road (Literally. O'Leary is very active in travel team play.).

O'Leary began playing the sport when she was 6 at the William S. Hart Sports Complex. "It was little rec ball, my mom coached the team!" she recalls. "Then I started playing travel ball. Around 12, we started looking for a really good travel ball team, checking out coaches. I started getting serious at 14; it was weird to see coaches start coming to games to watch me! That's when it hit me: I could go to college in a couple of years and get committed to a school if I worked at it hard enough."

O'Leary isn't the first in her family to attend college on a softball scholarship; her mom did, too. "She always wants me to try my best. She knew what it took to get a scholarship and she'd push me. She always said that if I kept practicing, it would all pay off - and she was right!"

The athletic genes aren't limited to the females in the family. "I have very athletic parents and my little brother plays football. My mom never misses a game and my dad comes right after work; they were both athletes in high school, so they know how it is and they love to watch me play. I am so glad that I have the best, most supportive parents. I love them to death and I'm so happy to have them in my life."

What advice does this rising star have for athletes who hope to be in her cleats in the future? "I always tell my younger brother: Practice! Practice is so necessary to get better. Go to practice, work as hard as possible, know you're going to go far! You might not want to be there.

Hey, sometimes I don't want to be at practice, either. It's hot! But you just need to go out there. It's a just couple of hours. Go out there and do your best. Work hard and never give up. In the end, it will pay off."

Just a "Few" of O'Leary's Recent Accolades
Foothill League Pitcher of the Year
All CIF First Team
All Area Co-player of the Year
Cal-High Sports All-State Second Team
Cal-High Sports All-State Underclassman First Team
So Cal Prep Legends Athlete of the Week
All-SCV Softball Co-player of the Year
FloSoftball Second Team All-American
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