Shortstop Melissa Mayeux’s first season playing softball has been an interesting endeavour.
This past year, Mayeux made her journey from Le Barcares, France to Miami Dade College to start her softball career. Until this past season she had only played baseball.
Despite that, her transition has been flawless. The infielder is batting .341 with two home runs, 11 runs scored and five stolen bases.
“She knows the game well and is really athletic,” said Lady Sharks assistant coach Dianelys Espinosa. “She’s quick on the base pass and is always taking advantage of any mistakes the other team might make.”
The 19-year-old got into baseball when she was three because she wanted to play the sport just like her older brother.
“I always played baseball,” Mayeux said. “I played for fun with my friends, basketball and soccer, but I never started another sport besides baseball.”
Being the only woman playing on a team can be tricky, but Mayeux saw it more as a healthy competition. She always made sure to work just as hard as her male counterparts.
“In my high school I went to an academy in France and I started to play in the second division,” Mayeux said. “The level was a lot better but I used to play with boys so that pushed me up everytime. I always wanted to be better than them.”
The French-native originally had plans to come to the United States to play baseball in college, but because of the separation of sports she was not allowed the opportunity.
“At first I wanted to go to college for baseball but I didn’t have the opportunity because they didn’t give scholarships for girls who play,” Mayeux said. “Then I looked for softball teams and I found Miami Dade and that was it.”
In addition to her success on the field, she helps keep the team upbeat despite the Lady Sharks 14-27 record.
“She’s always making jokes,” said freshman infielder Jasmine Bernardini. “She’s never serious, unless she makes a mistake. We’ve been friends from the beginning and it’s fun to be with her.”
While Mayeux is adding more athletic ability to the Lady Sharks, she knows there are still a lot of improvements to be made.
“At the beginning, it was hard. The field is a lot smaller so playing shortstop, I’m always throwing it out of the field,” Mayeux said. “I want to be more consistent. I think I can be better. I just need to be more used to the way the pitcher is throwing the ball.”
But that isn’t the only adjustment the shortstop is making. She also had to learn English.
“In the beginning, I didn’t speak at all. I just listened because I couldn’t speak that much,” Mayeux said. “I was shy, but now that I speak to a lot of people I’ve gotten better.”
Despite struggling to change her style of play, Mayeux has found a way to take the advice her coaches have given her.
“She’s getting much better as a hitter now, compared to making that transition from baseball to softball,” Espinosa said. “She’s really understanding it now, so she’s only going to grow as a player.”
The Lady Sharks next game is versus the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota at the Kendall Campus softball field, 11011 S.W. 104th St., on April 28 at noon.