Sariah Perez, a seventeen-year-old senior at Patterson High School has been hard at work playing softball across the U.S. with her traveling softball team, the Valley Firecrackers.
Perez, along with her father Jimmy, have been collecting videos from softball matches in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Kansas, Nevada and Texas to edit together clips for highlight reels to send to coaches across the country. One of those videos, which was posted to Twitter, caught the attention of the coaching staff down at the University of Mary in North Dakota.
“She’s played in tournaments all over the Western part of the United States,” said her father, Jimmy Perez. “The coach [at University of Mary] caught wind of her through another coach and she started following her on Twitter and checked out her skills videos.”
After watching the highlight reel, the University of Mary coach reached out to Perez via email and the scholarship to play division two NCAA softball followed soon after.
Sariah talked about how much more difficult it has been to catch the attention of University coaches since the pandemic, but her hard work ethic and never give up attitude helped her to accomplish her goals of starting a life in softball outside of California.
“It was definitely harder to get coaches' attention,” said Sariah. “Not only because there weren't a lot of tournaments to play in but also because the coaches couldn’t go out and travel to recruit us. It was a challenge, but it was worth it.”
Sariah has been playing softball since she was ten years old and since then she has known that she wanted to go to college to play as well. The University of Mary was on her radar as one of the top programs she wanted to land in and after a tour of the facilities, she felt right at home.
“[The University of Mary] is a really, really good opportunity,” said Sariah. “I knew I didn't want to go to school in California. I knew I wanted to start my life outside of California after college and when I went to go visit their facilities, they were amazing. The coaches were very nice, and we were very like-minded. It felt like home. I knew that's where I wanted to be.”
After winning the Central California Conference title at the end of her Sophomore year at PHS, Sariah was saddened that she wouldn’t be able to follow that up her Junior year with the Pandemic worsening. However, she is hopeful that she will get the chance to play in a shortened season her Senior year at PHS and offers this advice to any students with dreams of their own.
“I’ll give you a quote my dad always tells me and that's what’s kept me going throughout the year. Don’t let your highs be too high and your lows be too low,” said Sariah. “That’s really important to me because when you have bad weeks and bad months, you gotta just keep grinding and keep pushing.”