Tresca wraps up college sports career

Posted 6/29/23

“I knew I hit it pretty well.” Izzy Tresca was recalling her first at bat in the collegiate ranks. “When I took a look, I realized it was one of the hardest hit balls I had ever struck.”

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Tresca wraps up college sports career


“I knew I hit it pretty well.” Izzy Tresca was recalling her first at bat in the collegiate ranks. “When I took a look, I realized it was one of the hardest hit balls I had ever struck.”

The ball rocketed over the left-field fence. That home run came with the bases loaded in an early season game three years ago.

Tresca was in her first year with the LeTourneau Yellowjackets. 

It was the bottom of the fourth when Tresca got the unexpected nod to grab her bat and pinch hit.

The count was 2 and 1 when the opposing pitcher sent a screwball toward the inside half of the plate.

“The pitch just didn’t have enough spin, and I always was an inside-ball hitter, so I made solid contact.”

She doesn’t remember much of the jog around the bases.

“It was sort of surreal,” she remarked, “and one of the best moments of my life.”

As her teammates streamed to the plate – against all COVID precepts and with the umpires trying to corral the team – Tresca enjoyed one of the most exhilarating feelings in sport, the jog around the bases and the celebratory congratulations of her teammates. 

Tresca’s collegiate career is now complete, after having spent three seasons with LeTourneau.

The young lady had reported to the university with enough credit hours to allow her to attain her baccalaureate in three years.

The recent graduate kindly shared her perspective on collegiate sports recently during a sit-down at Kitchens Restaurant. 

The commitment to the sport – whatever sport one may pursue in the college ranks – was central to her approach.

“You just have to love the game,” she stated matter-of-factly. 

And there were going to be challenges, for sure.

For Tresca, the initial challenge was the transition from the quality of play of UIL 3A DI ball to the top-quality competition at the American Southwest Conference in collegiate Division 3.

That challenge was met, by Tresca’s admission, through two things: her personal love of the game and being among teammates who all shared that same passion.     

There were physical challenges as well. She weathered through a bicep injury which severely hampered her ability to throw. She also grappled with a plaguing labrum tear, which caused her to question her commitment before her senior year with LeTourneau.  

It is a difficult thing to play softball with injuries which inhibit one’s ability to throw. Yet, Tresca soldiered on. The injuries largely kept her in the designated player and pinch hitter roles.

When facing that decision to continue to play in her senior year, Tresca admitted, “I just came to the conclusion that I couldn’t give up on the opportunity to play one more year of the game I love.”

Through her description of the very tightly-knitted LeTourneau team, she explained the huge impact that team-led practices and team Bible study played in her maturation.

She and her teammates also participated in Christian Life-Group sessions which provided her yet another source of strength. 

Through the three-year process, the LeTourneau Yellowjackets realized a resurgence of their softball program. This past season they recorded the best win-loss record in school history (28-16). They also placed third in the ASC and went three rounds deep in the post season. 

Tresca said that the season provided many memorable moments. Some of those came from the unique nature of the ASC conference.

Conference games were all played in a three-game series format, either a single Friday game and a Saturday doubleheader or a Friday doubleheader and a single game on Saturday.

That system, Tresca remarked, was a laboratory on the subject of momentum and team cohesiveness. 

Additionally, the long bus trips – like the 12-hour ride to Alpine -– made away games especially memorable.

Two themes resurfaced throughout Tresca’s comments, mental toughness and belief in self. Both are hallmarks in Mineola athletics. Developing a mental toughness is absolutely required for playing at the next level, she noted. 

She lauded the focus on mental toughness at Mineola High School.

“The Mineola Athletics program places you in the best physical shape possible and provides structured readiness. It challenges you to believe in oneself and to go all in, because it is going to be difficult.”

For someone who lived softball throughout her youth, Tresca had plenty of positive influences. Among them were Mikie Catron, her long-time hitting coach, former University of Texas catcher Mandy Ogle, and her parents, Michael and Sarah Tresca.

By Tresca’s own admission, all those influences were needed.  The challenges on the field of play are only part of the difficult experience of playing collegiate sports. Time management, juggling studies and practices and maintaining the ability to focus on the immediate task at hand were all daily issues.   

However, she also offered some encouraging thoughts about the process. “College programs want players who are coachable…you do not have to be the best player on the field to play college sports, you have to have the ability to develop.”

That, she explained, combined with one’s time investment and plain old hard work, should give many high school athletes encouragement to continue playing. 

Tresca summarized, “I wouldn’t have traded the experience for the world.”