Greenhaw’s softball passion began early on.
“My parents signed me up for softball when I was 3 years old,” said the 18-year-old kinesiology major. “I was raised into it.”
Greenhaw’s enthusiasm grew quickly. She started playing travel ball at seven and continued on into high school.
During her sophomore year of high school, Greenhaw began playing for a travel team in USA 18 Gold, the most elite level of pre-college softball. She played well and was soon on California State University, Stanislaus’ radar.
Greenhaw’s softball future was looking bright. It was smooth sailing to a scholarship, a university, and college level softball.
But misfortune was on the horizon, as Greenhaw would soon find out.
Greenhaw played basketball her senior year. One day at practice, she jumped up for a rebound and came down awkwardly on her right foot, injuring it. “I thought it was just a sprain,” Greenhaw said. “But it turned out to be way more.”
For the next two months, Greenhaw continued playing basketball and softball. The pain in her foot didn’t reside so she went to a doctor. An x-ray and MRI of her right ankle revealed that half of her joint was cut off.
Greenhaw received ankle surgery later that year.
Greenhaw was released from the hospital and began walking again, despite a mild pain. One day, she woke up with a swollen ankle that she couldn’t walk on. She went to the doctor’s office, where an x-ray revealed the bone in her right foot had completely severed. Another surgery was scheduled.
In the second surgery, another doctor cut open the incision from the original surgery and made an alarming discovery. Greenhaw’s ankle was filled with pus, which tested positive for staph infection.
Greenhaw was then admitted to the hospital for the next few weeks. For three months after the surgery she was confined to a wheelchair and underwent an intense antibiotic routine.
This was a trying time for Greenhaw, who had never been off the field so long. “Since I was three years old I’ve been playing nonstop,” she said.
The infection was a major blow to her plans. She didn’t recover before the coming season. Her chances of being awarded a scholarship were ruined. Junior college was her only option.
Greenhaw enrolled at Cosumnes River College and, despite a reluctant doctor, she joined the Hawk’s softball team. “I had to beg him to let me play this season,” Greenhaw said. “My chances of making it worse were slim to none. It would just be really painful.”
Greenhaw has handled the injury well. “She’s always had the most heart,” said Allison Barsetti, a teammate and lifelong friend of Greenhaw. “I don’t think she let it get her down.”
“I’m still the fastest on the team, even with my injury,” Greenhaw said. She’s capitalized on her speed this season by stealing seven bases and scoring 22 runs.
But she has more than just speed to get her on-base, she has a good eye. “If the ball isn’t in my zone I won’t swing at it,” Greenhaw said, which explains her 14 walks this season.
“When Alissa came up to bat I always knew she was gonna get on base one way or another,” Barsetti said.
Greenhaw is also a skilled shortstop. She has 53 putouts and a team-leading 75 assists. “I dive for a lot of balls. If I think there’s any chance of me getting a ball, I’ll dive for it,” Greenhaw said. “I’ll give all my effort in getting it.”
Greenhaw’s approach to defense embodies her all-out attitude.
“I like to be the best at everything I do,” Greenhaw said. “If anyone’s better than me I’ll push myself as hard as I can until I have nothing left because I don’t like being in second place or second best.”
Greenhaw plans to finish her general education classes next spring and transfer. She requires a third ankle surgery, but has postponed it until after the season.
Obstacles aside, Greenhaw’s passion for the game is as strong as ever.
“If I could, I’d play softball till the day I die,” Greenhaw said.