Hawthorne softball parents, some of whom have seen four years worth of home games, said they never had witnessed a ball clear the deep, high fence that sits atop a hill in right field.
“That was the first one anyone at the game has ever seen gone out,” Bears coach Jackie Turco said.
“I’ve hit it over a fence before, but never that far. I guess it was a shot,” Paskas said with a laugh. “Coach A [Helen Antzoulides] called it [Monday]. She said how we’ve been here four years and it’s never been done.”
It’s that kind of power that has defined Paskas’ four-year career. Monday’s two-run blast during Rutherford’s 13-1 win was her 12th of the year and 32nd of her career — both school records.
Paskas finished 3-for-5 with six RBI — giving her 39 RBI on the season — and is closing in on the career hit record of 151 with her 137.
“My sophomore year is when I started getting some power, and I just started falling in love with the chance to hit the ball as hard as I could,” said Paskas, who’ll be joining her brother, Mike, at Wilkes College in the fall, where she’ll be playing softball and volleyball. “When you get up there, you just wanna rip it.”
The developed power isn’t something that happened by accident. Paskas, a three-sport star at Rutherford, is in the gym five times a week, oftentimes after games or practices. If she’s not at the gym, she’s at a field near her house getting soft tosses from her mother or father.
All this while maintaining a 3.6 grade-point average.
“She’s full-tilt, all the time,” said Antzoulides, who coaches Paskas in softball and volleyball. “There’s no halfway with her. Everything she does is done at 100 percent. And off the field, if you ask any teacher at Rutherford High School who the most respectful, hardworking kids are, they’d all tell you it’s the Paskas kids. Mike was that way and Ally’s the same way. They just do everything right and you love to see success come their way.”
Antzoulides said she knew of Paskas in middle school (and another record-breaker, pitcher Julie Sosnicki), but never could have envisioned the type of career Paskas has put together.
“You see these girls when they’re younger and they’re, like, 100 pounds. You don’t know how they’re going to develop,” Antzoulides said. “But I wish you could see pictures of Ally as a freshman and Ally now.
“You can actually see all the hard work she’s put in. And now you’re seeing it all pay off for her.”