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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2020 2 years ago

Orange Observer: Sports Spotlight — Alyssa Tillman

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Legacy senior Alyssa Tillman led the way at the plate for the Eagles softball team.
by: Troy Herring Former Sports Editor

A senior at Legacy Charter High, Alyssa Tillman has been a member of the varsity team since her freshman year. Over the last four years, Tillman has grown into one of the bedrocks of the team — leading the Eagles in batting average, hits and extra-base hits in a shortened senior season.


 

When did you first get into softball?

I started playing when I was 5, and it was all my dad’s doing. My dad played softball all of his life, and I have four older sisters, and he just kind of all put them into softball when they could (play). I was just the next up-and-coming gal for him.
 

What has been your favorite thing about playing at Legacy?

My favorite thing would be the coach — Coach Katie (Katherine Barnard). I’ve never really had a coach like her. My dad has always been my coach, but I don’t know, she is kind of like your friend and your coach all wrapped up into one, and I’ve never had that before. And obviously all the girls — getting to know people from my school better.
 

What is your favorite thing about playing catcher? The most challenging thing?

I like being in the catcher’s position, because it kind of gives me control — I’m kind of a control freak on the field sometimes. It’s having that control and being a part of every play. But I guess you could say that is also the most challenging part — being a part of every single play.
 

What would you say has been the biggest change you have seen in yourself since your freshman year?

I would say the whole leadership thing, because until Legacy, I was never a catcher, so I never had to be the leader on the field. I always kind of did what I had to do — I was never a team captain. I wouldn’t say I was quiet, but I was just playing my game, so Legacy kind of forced me to become a voice on the team because I had to be in that catcher’s position.
 

What are the best words of advice you’ve been given about softball?

(Coach Barnard) telling me to get out of my own head. I would take on so much anxiety during games, and I would have to have a time out so I could get myself together. She was just kind of like, “You know I love this sport — it’s a passion of mine, too — so I know how you feel, but at the end of the day, it’s just a game.”
 

Is there a favorite memory — or memories — for you during your playing time at Legacy?

Every single season, we have had a pattern of losing and winning. We would go through an entire period losing games, and then after that an entire period of winning. I think the games where we finally got back into the winnings streak — where it was one win after a series of losses — was the best feeling. Every single game is a constant battle and a constant fight every inning, so just finally walking away from one of those games with a win, I think I’ll always remember that feeling.

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Troy Herring was the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com.

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