Greenhaw battled odds before fighting for CRC

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Demitri Fellines

Greenhaw leading off 2nd base.

Alissa Greenhaw is the softball team’s leadoff hitter and starting shortstop.‭ ‬She finished with a‭ ‬.339‭ ‬batting average,‭ ‬seven stolen bases‭ ‬and only two strikeouts.‭ ‬In the infield,‭ ‬she led the team in assists ‬with‭ ‬75‭. Very impressive,‭ ‬considering she never planned on playing for the Hawks.‭

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.