Junior ASU softball pitcher went from bat girl to starting pitcher

Breanna Macha is living out her childhood dream of playing softball at ASU

A Sun Devil jersey ASU junior pitcher Breanna Macha’s received as a child, now hangs her locker at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium.

“I keep my jersey in my locker from when I was six years old, " Macha said. "Whenever I come in here, I’m reminded that this is where I started."

At the end of any challenging game, she said she uses it as a reminder of how her hard work has gotten her where she wants to be: playing softball at ASU.

As an Arizona native, Macha attended every softball home game she could and fell in love with the sport. When she was 9 years old, her father saw an opportunity for her to be an ASU bat girl. He quickly filled out the online application process and Macha was given the position right away. 

“I was learning from the girls,” Macha said. “I still remember their cheers ever since I was like nine years old, I can still recite those cheers.”

The year she worked with the team in 2008, the Sun Devils won the National Championship.

Macha said her experience was life changing and that it sparked her dream to want to play softball at the collegiate level. But it wasn’t only her experience as a bat girl that ignited her interest in wanting to play softball for ASU.

During her recruiting process, she was intertwined between ASU and UA. After her visit to Tucson, she came back with a much different mindset.

“(ASU) is where I’m supposed to be, it’s home,” Macha said. "I’m going home tonight because my dad is literally 15 minutes away. I love being an in-state girl, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I think that I made the best decision I ever could of made.”

Entering her third year with the Sun Devils, there has been no looking back since her decision. Macha has become one of the team’s secret weapons, being used as a relief pitcher in addition to starting in the pitching circle.

Macha began her 2017 season on a high note with a record of 3-2, two saves and an ERA of 1.26. In her combined three seasons with ASU, she’s posed a 3.77 ERA with a 27-22 record and eight saves through 336.1 innings.

Although Macha has proven to be a great competitor, she believes in giving back to the community off the field.

“As much as I love playing softball, giving back is what really matters to the community,” Macha said.

As an exercise and wellness major, she’s entering her fourth year of participating in the American Heart Association's “Jump Rope For Heart”. During the charity event, Macha helps raise awareness for cardiovascular disease by jumping rope with students of all ages and talking to them about the importance of staying fit and healthy.

She further explained that head coach Trisha Ford really aims to get the team out for community service, who she said she admires for her commitment to giving back. That admiration that goes both ways.

Ford first saw Macha play as a sophomore in high school while on a travel ball team in the midst of her coaching days at Stanford.

Ford said they clearly weren’t there to scout Macha, as she had already committed to ASU, but continued to watch her because of her work ethic.

“I loved her presence, her 'bulldogness,'” Ford said.

Macha was given the nickname "bulldog" by Ford because of her hard work out on the diamond.

“That kid competes her tail off. I just really admire what she brings,” Ford said.

Macha said she has felt the need to help mentor some of the younger players like freshmen starters Giselle Juarez and Alyssa Loza.

In the third and fourth games of the season, when the freshmen pitchers made their debuts, Macha said she pulled them aside and told them to play the game pitch-by-pitch. 

Both freshmen won their debuts.

"I take it one pitch at a time," Juarez said of her mentality during games. She said she is able to get through tough games because she knows her team has her back. 

"... whether it's offensively or defensively, they all say 'you got this,'" Juarez said. 

Despite Macha's advice to others, Ford said she is her own biggest critic.  

“If she misses a pitch sometimes she’s so hard on herself, challenging her to get better from it," Ford said. “That is going to be her biggest growth. I think that she has room in that area, but that just comes with maturity, knowing that I have confidence in her."

Reach the reporter at leon.annaliese13@gmail.com or follow @lieseleon on Twitter.

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