Arizona State's Alynah Torres Has All The Tools To Be Great
Alynah Torres was prepared for the moment.
Last season, Torres came into the Arizona State softball program as an extremely talented in-state freshman. Torres had the opportunity to learn from veteran infield players when she arrived in Tempe, including shortstop Jade Gortarez.
Before the season started, though, Gortarez announced that she would transfer from the program, which left a significant void in the infield for the Sun Devils.
Torres was put into that pivotal position, and her confidence never wavered.
“I feel like I prepared myself my whole life, my whole club ball career and high school career that I knew that if anything were to happen that I would be able to come in and start,” Torres said. “... I think I just took my opportunity and went with it.”
In the shortened season, Torres impressed, as she finished with a .395 batting average, nine home runs and 31 RBIs in 29 games. Torres was also a defensive anchor in the infield as a freshman.
Torres didn’t necessarily expect that type of production from herself, but she wasn’t surprised by it.
“I put in the work all the time and I expect nothing but the best from myself,” Torres said. “I am very hard on myself, so I feel like I had the pressure on me to do well, so the fact that I could produce for my team last year was very exciting for me.”
ASU coach Trisha Ford had the same thoughts.
“Alynah, she just comes from a championship breed,” Ford said. “She is somebody that is super, super competitive, a great teammate and who comes prepared. When she got her opportunities last year, she really took them and ran with them.
“I think for me, it was a surprise, but it wasn’t a surprise because that is her DNA. That is who she is. That is who she has been her whole life. If you talk to people throughout her career, she came from a great, just a tremendous travel ball organization. I think that has continued to show up on this level.”
Despite her seemingly seamless transition, Torres had an extremely difficult task to fill in for Gortarez at shortstop as a freshman.
Enter then-junior infielder Bella Loomis.
Although they never played together before college, Torres and Loomis grew up playing against one another all the time. With that fact, and as an infield partnership, a special connection blossomed, and Ford said she believes that Torres was able to elevate her game with Loomis to lean on.
“We have that connection and that bond, and she helps me with anything that I need,” Torres said. “She is very open-minded to help, and coming from last season, it was big shoes to fill, so her calming me down and talking me through everything really helped me out.
“I feel like I wouldn’t have been as successful if I didn’t have Bella there to help me out.”
Loomis loved playing alongside Torres last season, and she described Torres as a player who makes the spectacular plays look effortless.
“She has the type of mentality that no one is going to beat her, and it fires us all up when we are out there,” Loomis said.
With last season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Torres is extremely excited to get back on the field to show what the Sun Devils have to offer this season.
With four super seniors returning—including twins Kindra Hackbarth and Maddi Hackbarth—and the team's talented newcomers, ASU has the firepower to potentially return to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series this year.
“When I first heard the news, it was upsetting because nobody knew exactly what was going on,” Torres said. “... We had no idea. But, I think the NCAA did the right thing by giving us that extra year to play and I am just excited that we are still even playing in this pandemic. Other than that, I am just grateful to play the sport that I love.”
After a stellar shortened season, where does Torres need to improve with more expectations as a sophomore?
Torres mentioned that she needs to stay consistent with her routine plays and reaching base, and Ford mentioned aspects behind the scenes and the little things, including staying calm in her approach.
“There is not a whole lot from a skillset standpoint that we are going to really change,” Ford said. “We are just going to continue to get her, and to challenge her a little bit more from a mental side, work on her recovery and staying in shape and taking on a leadership role as she gets older. Those are the things that we help mold when you have a player with her skillset come into your program."
With that, Ford said that Torres has “all the tools to be great.”
Torres has superstar potential, but she isn’t fixated on that fact, as she just wants to contribute to wins and believes everything else will fall into place.
“Thing about me is … I don’t like to look at the (statistics) and everything,” Torres said. “I just like to play hard and whatever happens, happens. My overall goal is to be an All-American and to make it to the Women’s College World Series.
“If I can do any of that in these next four years, that would be awesome.”