Softball Senior Profile -- Shelly Prochaska
May 23, 2003
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Senior catcher Shelly Prochaska saw action in more games than any other athlete in Oregon State history throughout her four-year career. Prochaska competed in 261 games, making 255 starts at a variety of positions for the OSU softball squad, with the majority of her playing time coming behind the plate.
A native of Aloha, OR, Prochaska concluded a stellar career on May 18 as the Beavers were eliminated in the championship game of the NCAA Regional Tournament. Prochaska is the only player in OSU softball history to rank in the top-5 in eight different career batting categories. She became the first player in school history to record 200 hits, 100 RBI and 100 runs scored when she crossed the plate in Oregon State's upset victory against No. 10 ranked Florida State at the Regional Tournament.
Invited to participate in the USA Softball National Team trials in early June, Prochaska has yet to hang up her cleats for good - though she has made her final appearance in a Beaver uniform. A fixture in OSU history, Prochaska's dedication and determination will bring her success in whatever the future holds.
Prochaska is one of five seniors on the Beavers' softball roster - a group of individuals that have helped re-write the OSU record book throughout their careers.
This is the final weekly player profile highlighting the 2003 Beaver softball seniors and giving you an inside look at five outstanding individuals.
The following is a question and answer session with Shelly Prochaska after Oregon State returned from the NCAA Regional Tournament:
Q. How long have you been playing softball and what do you enjoy most about the sport?
A. I started playing softball when I was 5 - so I've been playing for 16 years now, almost 17. I love defense because it's fun to stop people from scoring, and since I'm catcher, I like the collisions! I just love the competitiveness of the sport.
Q. What other schools did you think about attending, and why did you choose Oregon State?
A. My top choices other than Oregon State were Nebraska, UMass, Texas Tech and UNLV. The deciding factor was that Oregon State really wanted me. The coaches and the players verbally said that they wanted me to be here. I have no regrets - it's been a great fit.
Q. You have played in more games than any other athlete in Oregon State history and you also missed only one game in high school. What has made you so dependable?
A. I pride myself in being consistent. I also put in a lot of extra time after practice - I'll ask the coaches for extra ground balls or extra hitting and I think that has helped a lot. Also, on my travel team before I got here, besides catching I played a third base and I played the outfield - so I can play other positions which has helped too.
Q. Tell me about your batting song, 'Eye of the Tiger.' Other players have changed their song over the years but you've kept yours the same, is there any reason why?
A. That song is a classic. Also, it gets me fired up - if it's worked before, why change it! It's a classy song and everybody knows that song. Some of the best movies have that song and some of the best athletes have used it.
Q. What was your reaction when you learned you were invited to the USA Softball National Team trials?
A. At first I acted like it was just another thing, and it took me a while to realize that it wasn't. I remember I put the paper (letter of invitation) down and went to take some cuts. I saw Vanessa (Iapala) and told her and then just started jumping around and hopping all over - I just couldn't stop talking about. I went to tell my parents and called them but nobody was home. I called their cell phone but they didn't have it turned on. So I decided to call my sister Leslie in California but she wasn't home either - I had this great news but nobody was there. I finally got ahold of them and both my mom and sister were shocked. I'm just excited that I got invited - it seems like softball doesn't want to get rid of me yet!
Q. What has been your most memorable moment over your career at Oregon State?
A. I know the other seniors mentioned the win against UCLA (April 20, 2001; on the opening day of the OSU Softball Complex) - beating them on our brand new field was incredible. But actually, this year I think the game against Arizona, even though we lost, we were right with them the whole time (OSU dropped an 11-inning game against the top-ranked Wildcats on April 27). If a few things would have happened differently, we would have beaten them (Arizona is the only Pac-10 school the Beaver seniors never beat). That was just a fantastic game, everyone played well - it was really cool!
Q. You've accomplished numerous things while playing here and have broken a number of records, going 4-for-4 in three different games, ranking in the top-5 in eight different career batting categories and being invited to the USA Softball National Team trials. Was there anything that you didn't accomplish that you would have liked to before the end of your career?
A. Not making it to the World Series is a little bit of a downer. We've had the potential so many times to do it but just had bad luck here and there. But, I think I might have taken things a little bit for granted. This year has been by far my favorite, the girls are so much fun to hang out with on and off the field - I've had a lot of fun.
Q. What do you see yourself doing after you graduate from Oregon State?
A. I've changed my mind so many times - I wish I had something more concrete! I've been thinking about teaching and that's a possibility. I still want to be involved in softball, maybe coaching at the high school level or just helping out with my old travel ball team like I did last summer. It's kind of up in the air still - I wish I knew.