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Flores’ love for softball leads her to St. Mary’s

December 18, 2018 GMT

Early in Highlands catcher Alyssa Flores’ playing career, there were signs she would go far in the game.

The first was in Flores’ initial game, shortly after she told her youth softball coach that she wanted to play catcher without actually knowing the name for the position. Flores, who on Nov. 28 signed with St. Mary’s University to play softball, merely mentioned that she wanted play “back there” and pointed behind the plate.

After a rough first outing, she told her mother Teresa Flores that she’d found a home.

“She said, ‘Mom, I love it,’” Teresa Flores recalled her 10-year-old saying. “She played a lot of sports before then but, after that, it was all about softball.”

The second signal came after a tournament game in Dallas when the three-time all-district player was age 12.

“I used to get so worried because Alyssa would have bruises all over but, on the field, you didn’t see the pain,” Teresa Flores said. “At this tournament, she calls me over to the dugout and says ‘Mom, don’t freak out, but I think I broke my thumb. But I’ll be good until after the game.’”

Afterward, her mother said the doctor told Alyssa it would be her last game for a while.

The numbers make Flores’ case for her. In three seasons, the Highlands standout has carried a .502 batting average and a .610 on-base percentage with 102 hits, 13 home runs and 83 runs batted in. Perhaps the most important statistic to demonstrate the future mechanical engineering major’s preparedness is her No. 2 academic ranking in the Owls’ senior class.

Flores’ arrival at Highlands coincided with that of Owls coach Monica Acuna.

In a speech before a sizable crowd at Highlands’ gym, Flores told her coach: “All the times we fought and you pushed me, we battled hard, but made it through.”

Acuna, a University of the Incarnate Word alum, admitted she was proud to see Flores sign with rival St. Mary’s.

“Alyssa has always been a natural-born leader,” she said. “When she was a freshman, the seniors looked up to her. Together, we’ve grown as people. This is a very special moment for her.

“As a coach, I’ve asked a lot of Alyssa, but only because of her capabilities.”

Flores, who also is a leader and key player on the Owls girls basketball team, actually lives in Sam Houston’s district, but attends Highlands because of its pre-engineering program and the opportunity to earn college credit in her intended major.

“I wanted to show someone from the SAISD could do well in college and put (Highlands) on the map,” Flores declared.

Flores knew as a middle school student that engineering would be her career path. Her father, David Flores, is a computer technician at San Antonio College. She said her teacher at Highlands, Jerry Broils, had been a mentor.

“Since freshman year,” Flores said, “I just loved my classes and stuck with it.”

She’s anxious, after a successful senior season with her Owls teammates, to play for St. Mary’s coach Donna Fields, who has won 908 games, four regional titles and a national title in 21 years at the school.

“I want to show it’s possible to make it,” Flores said. “If I can make it, anyone else can make it.”