Junior third baseman Anna Merante has played softball since she was eight years old on the Orange Crush Pittsford Little League team. Donning a bright fluorescent orange jersey, Merante joined the team to play with her friends.
From there, she went on to become more involved with the sport, advancing to the modified team in middle school, junior varsity in eighth grade and played on the varsity team during all four of her years at Pittsford Mendon High School. Merante was only a varsity third baseman for a month. She was placed into the catcher position for her entire varsity career in order to substitute for an injured senior player.
“Because I was just thrown into the catcher role, I had no idea what I was doing, so I had one sign where I just wiggled all my fingers and I would [signal to the pitcher], ‘throw whatever you want’ because I had no idea what I was doing,” Merante said.
Even if she was not experienced in the position of catcher, she really enjoyed. One of her favorite moments of her softball career occurred during the last out of sectionals in her senior year of high school. When the batter watched the third strike hit the outside corner of the plate, she and her team ran toward the pitcher’s mound, celebrating being Section V Champions.
When Merante came to Geneseo as a walk-on her freshman year, she played the position of catcher for two games and third baseman for three games. For her sophomore and junior year, she became the starting third baseman, something she enjoys more than playing behind the plate.
“Catching is a lot of fun because you get to interact with the pitchers a lot, but I also feel like it’s a lot of repetition,” she said. “I think third base is more fun because you have to react to grounders and stuff like that.”
Now in her third year playing at Geneseo, Merante said that the team is cohesive and works well together.
“I like to think that we’re an exception because I feel like we’re all really close and we get really excited to see each other and don’t have a lot of drama,” Merante said. “I think that adds to our success on the field because you have to have each other’s back on the field.”
Merante’s journey through softball has connected her to her teammates. Additionally, Merante has strengthened and appreciated her familial relationships through the process, specifically with her parents, who were also athletes in college.
“They have this far paid and supported me and given me every sort of opportunity to be good at softball and to get the practice I need. My mom always drove me to every single clinic and practice, and some of them were 45 minutes to an hour away,” Merante said. “Looking back on that now, I feel like at the time I wasn’t appreciative enough of that. But now I’m really appreciative of it.”
Having her parents live close also makes the softball experience even more enjoyable.
“Being so close to home makes it easier for my parents to come to games, which is really nice because a lot of other people’s parents can never make it to games,” Merante said.
Despite being a softball player for a majority of her life, Merante wants to pursue other dreams after she graduates. As a biology major and member of the Geneseo pre-veterinary club, Merante plans to go to veterinarian school.
“Maybe I’ll play slow pitch when I’m 40 or something, I don’t know, but I’m not going to play softball,” Merante said. “Next year will be my last year playing.”
No matter what Merante does in the future, it’s apparent that her time as a softball player has made a lasting impact on her life.