Samantha Diaz, a senior and athlete on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s softball team, the Lady Eagles, has been selected as February’s Athlete of the Month. Diaz was born in Pembroke Pines, Florida and moved to Parkland, Florida when she was four-years-old.
At five-years-old, Diaz started playing softball. She joined travel softball when she was seven and played for MSD’s Lady Eagles during her freshman year.
“My dad used to play baseball when he was younger so when we moved to Parkland, he got me into a recreational organization and I just fell in love with the sport,” Diaz said. “The best part about softball is all of the friendships and bonds that I’ve made in all my years of playing. There’s nothing better than winning a championship alongside your closest friends.”
To prepare for games, Diaz practices hitting, pitching and practicing drills everyday. Her father, Andres Diaz, coached her for a couple of years before turning over the reins to his daughter’s travel softball coaches, John Bradshaw and Delvin Pascaul. Diaz’s coaches helped take her to the next level by training her while she played in the South Florida Intensity National Team.
“Sam joined the national team within the last two years with a competitive mindset,” Bradshaw said. “At first she was a baseman and then a pitcher. She quickly showed us that she was a tremendous asset and a great fit for our team.”
In addition to being an athlete, Diaz takes various Advanced Placement courses. One of the most difficult parts about playing softball was managing school work and the sport together. To ensure a successful academic career, Diaz completes her schoolwork in a specific order: she does her shorter assignments first and her time-consuming assignments afterwards. Additionally, Diaz utilizes any free time she has in the day in between school and softball to do her work or study.
“If I’m not driving to practice, I’ll probably do Quizlets in the car or the small worksheets I may have,” Diaz said. “When I’m at softball, I make sure to focus on perfecting my game instead of my remaining homework. It helps me relieve stress.”.
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Diaz committed to Franklin & Marshall College at the senior college signing day for athletes.
“I chose Franklin & Marshall College because I love the culture of the softball team,” Diaz said. “Everyone gets along and I felt at home when I went on my official visit. I also love the fact that it’s out of state; I get to experience change, which is something I’ve been looking forward to.”
During the signing, Diaz sat alongside other student athletes who were ready to commit to their dream schools. MSD’s Lady Eagles’ Coach, Brian Staubly, gave a speech acknowledging Diaz’s hardwork and dedication throughout the four years she’s been on the team. Her friends and family sat and cheered in support for her decision and ended the final moments by taking pictures.
“I love playing with Sam, she brings so much energy to the field,” junior and Lady Eagles athlete Katie Pecaut said. “I don’t think I’ve met anyone who works harder than her. I look up to her to become a better player mentally and physically.”
Diaz will be taking her softball career with her to Lancaster, Pennsylvania at Franklin & Marshall College. She plans to major in neuroscience and become either a neurologist or neurosurgeon.