In her recently completed senior year at Hollister High, Gia Felice played golf in the fall, basketball in the winter and track and field in the spring sports season.
But, softball is the sport which she’ll have the chance to compete in at the next level. Felice has a spot on UC Davis’ fall-ball team, which is essentially a tryout to make the travel team in the spring. Whether Felice makes the travel team or not, she’s ecstatic about the opportunity ahead.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I was going to try to walk-on either way, but this gives me a chance to really show what I can do (over a couple of months of fall ball). If I didn’t get this spot, I would’ve had a two-week tryout for the team which would be much more stressful.”
Felice is knee-deep in training, as she has the UC Davis softball summer workout schedule and a cell contact for the athletic trainer. She earned her spot on the fall-ball squad after making an impressive showing at a showcase event over Father’s Day weekend.
Turns out, one of the UC Davis coaches was attending the event and saw Felice play particularly well. Playing second base and outfield for the Sorcerer Ricks 18U team, Felice said she was dialed in and happened to have one of her better performances in her career.
“The Davis (assistant) coach said he liked that I was fast around the bases and my hitting,” Felice said. “I’m a lefty slapper and my job is to get on base, use speed and put the ball in play. He said at Davis they could always use a player with those skills so I would be able to help the team in that regard.”
After a couple of conversations, Felice was notified she had a spot on the 29-player fall-ball roster, which gets cut down to 20 for the travel squad when the season starts in January. Up until trying out and making the Sorcerer team a couple of months after the completion of the basketball season, Felice hadn’t played since January 2021.
“I was hitting in the cage in my backyard (earlier in the year) just for fun because I wanted to see how I would do,” she said. “And I missed it a lot. In the middle of track season, I started practicing again and after track is when I had the mentality that I wanted to do this, to try softball competitively again. I missed the rush of getting in the (batter’s) box.”
A high achieving 4.4-plus GPA student, Felice displayed tremendous athleticism on the hardwood, where she was Hollister’s toughest on the ball defender. On the links, Felice was a top-5 starter despite having limited playing experience.
In track and field, Felice established a personal-best time of 1:00.49 in the 400 meters in the Pacific Coast Athletic League Masters Meet, before finishing 18th in the Central Coast Section Championships. With how everything turned out, Felice wouldn’t have done anything differently and said her relatively brief time away from softball during Covid was a positive.
“Travel ball makes it hard to be a multi-sport athlete in high school, and that’s what I really wanted to do in my senior year,” she said. “I wanted that fun experience of doing golf, basketball and track.”
Felice got that and more, and now she’s eagerly anticipating the next chapter in her athletic career.
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]