As a kid, Ayana Gonzalez was the tag-along girl in the neighborhood. “I grew up with a lot of boys, so I played with them and they made softball and basketball fun. When I was older, my mom was friends with one of my coaches and he convinced her to get me into pitching because I had such a good arm. I was bigger than most of the girls, I guess, so he also got me on to a football team at one point,” laughed the Lady Dragon junior hurler. “But that didn’t last very long.”
Ayana came to Dewar last year from Graham just in the nick of time according to coach Cheyenne Petrovic. “She really saved the day for us last year because we were a team without a pitcher when she came to us. She’s a quiet giant-not outspoken or loud. But when she’s in the moment on the field, you’d never know it because she shows great confidence.”
Dewar got off to a fast start this season going undefeated in their first seven games with Ayana in the circle for all seven. She points to a recent star of last spring’s women’s college softball world series as a role model in James Madison University pitcher Odicci Alexander. She was in the circle when the Dukes beat OU in the series opener and was later named the NCAA Division I Softball Woman of the Year. Gonzalez also has a role model closer to home. “My uncle Eric is one of my rocks,” said Gonzalez. “He works out with me, comes to my games, even buys some of my equipment and is one of my biggest fans. I really look up to him.”
After a year at Dewar, Ayana is feeling a lot more comfortable with her surroundings and new teammates. “I really like all the girls here and it’s really fun. I’ve never been a part of a team like this,” said Ayana.
Gonzalez has some short term and long-term goals for what remains of her softball career at Dewar. “I’d really like to get a no-hitter this season and I’d like to help this team get into and maybe win districts because that hasn’t happened here for a while. Ultimately, I’d like to make it to state before I graduate.”
Ayana added that she feels her basketball days are behind her, she might give a track a try next spring.