(Photo: Michael Baron/WCSN)
Marisa Stankiewicz has been involved with sports all of her life, from t-ball with her older brother Drew to softball at the collegiate level for the Sun Devils.
“I remember when we were playing on the same team she was better than all the other guys,” Drew Stankiewicz said. “She was really strong and still is.”
She could not have known how much of an asset that strength would prove to be later in her career. However, it was the key to her achieving a goal all young athletes have.
“My greatest accomplishment is finally being able to be the player that my 11-year-old self would look up to,” Stankiewicz said
However, the incredible part is that she attained this goal through the course of the first half of the 2017 softball season.
“In the beginning of the year, I had never started a game before and my confidence wasn’t there anymore,” Stankiewicz said. “Now, since we’re getting toward the middle of our season, I feel my confidence is a lot higher and I’m able to believe in myself to contribute to the team in more ways than I was able to in the past.”
The junior is the team’s second baseman, and has proved herself as, to say the least, very daring on both sides of the ball.
“If you look at Stank from the beginning of the year and now, she’s diving all over the field and I mean parallel to the ground,” head coach Trisha Ford said.
This surge of confidence made all the difference for Marisa, but she does not assume all the credit for it.
“The motivation of my teammates and my coaches helps me a lot to realize that I can do that role,” Stankiewicz said.
Nonetheless, the style of play she had to develop in the beginning of her college career did not leave her. It has been enhanced by recent events and makes her a vexing opponent.
“In one word, she is a scrapper just like our father. Doing the little things right and trying to find ways to win the game,” Drew Stankiewicz said
Drew would know all about this as he was often described in a similar fashion when he played baseball for Arizona State. He also learned the same things Marisa did from their father Andy Stankiewicz, who is the head baseball coach at Grand Canyon University.
“He always said to play like it’s your last game ever and you’re not only playing for the front of your jersey, but also your name,” Drew Stankiewicz said.
Marisa definitely does this and she makes sure all of her teammates do too.
“I’m very loud and talkative in the dugout,” Stankiewicz said. “I like to bring everyone in to the game and make sure that everyone is paying attention, even the girls that are not playing the game. I like to include everyone in everything that we do.”
However, the many responsibilities Marisa has both on the bench and the field don’t overwhelm her because she can compartmentalize all of those duties, whether they be mental or physical.
“She’s enjoying it much more and understanding what the process looks like,” Ford said. “To me, it’s just been that mental maturity. She has the skill set. That kid can play ball and she comes from a baseball background. She’s been around the game at a very high level so she’s got the savvy.”
The blood runs deep around the diamond in this family, and No. 20 is carrying on that tradition.