Alyssa Calderon: Catching Her Own Legacy
Many people today wonder why would certain athletes travel to the opposite coast just to go to school and play a sport rather than going to a school closer to home. Or even a top athlete going to Division II rather than Division I. Some find it to be a better opportunity to play and have a more successful career and that is something Alyssa Calderon saw when coming to Caldwell University to play softball and it sure was not a disappointing choice.
Alyssa Calderon made an immediate impact when she arrived. She is one who can produce day in and day out from the plate and is an outstanding defensive catcher behind the plate. She made All-CACC teams in all four years at Caldwell and was a two time All-American. She became just the third player in program history to become a two time All-American behind Kim Mahoney and fellow teammate Kristen Knorr. She also one to be recognized in the classroom. Alyssa has made All-CACC Academic teams, All-American Academic teams, and more multiple times. Calderon became the first player in Caldwell history to become a two time Academic All-American. She holds the school records for RBIs (188), doubles (65), and total bases (406). She also ranks second in home runs (25), third in hits (248) and slugging percentage (.619). It is without a doubt that those numbers will put Alyssa up there with the greatest names to have ever played in this program.
During her senior year in the fall, one of the scariest situations occurred as Alyssa Calderon tore her ACL and her final season was put in jeopardy. Many did not think she would return until at least the mid way point of the season. But with the right trainers and doctors, Alyssa’s rehab was very successful and suffered no setbacks which allowed her to be weeks ahead on her schedule to return. Alyssa did not just return but she returned in time for the season to start and many would never of thought she would be ready that soon, especially coach Dean Johnson or even Calderon herself. “I honestly thought she was done or least wouldn’t return until near the end of the season. She worked really hard to come back and it all worked out well and I was excited to see her come back to play and see her have a successful season, especially in conference play,” said Johnson. “I didn't even think I would come back at least until April. I also didn't think I would catch as many games as I did. I felt confident physically and mentally about the injury and I was surprised how well I came back. It was a lot of hard work but I wouldn't be able to do it and come back if it wasn't for the coaches and training staff.," said Calderon. She led the team in her senior season in hits (62) and total bases (101) and was able to play in all 52 games to finish off her spectacular collegiate career. She also came in clutch during the CACC tournament with a pair of key three run home runs to help Caldwell clinch their second conference title in three year and Calderon was named tournament MVP. Alyssa basically showed not just athletes but people everywhere that with a little hard work, you can get through the toughest situations in life and get what you want.
Prior to coming to Caldwell, Alyssa attended Etiwanda High School in Fontana, California where she helped her school win the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division I state championship in 2009. She also received the Athletic-Scholar Award at Etiwanda.
Bachelor's Degree- Psychology
Two Time All-American
CACC Player of the Year (2013)
CACC Tournament MVP (2015)
Four Time All-CACC
Three Time All-East Region
Two Time Academic All-American
Three Time Capital One Academic All District 1
Division II ADA Academic Achievement Award
CACC Student-Athlete of the Month
188 RBIs (School Record)
65 Doubles (School Record)
406 Total Bases (School Record)
25 Home Runs
.619 Slugging Percentage
406 Total Bases
8 Stolen Bases
What often helps make a great player become even better is having that special bond not just with their teammates but with their coaches and that is something coach Johnson and Alyssa have, a strong unbreakable bond. "He's like a father figure to me," said Calderon. "When I had my injury he would take me to my doctor appointments and wait in the waiting room with me." It is clear that coach Johnson only wanted to see Calderon come back before her senior year comes to an end. "I wanted to do everything to get her back in the condition to play," said Johnson. But not only did Calderon come back in time for the season to start but she came back in style playing as the All-American that we know and appeared that she didn't miss a beat. She went on to become an All-American and named the CACC tournament MVP. Most of the credit can be given to the coaching staff as well as the trainers from JAG that helped Alyssa come back sooner than expected and perform at a high level.
A player of her caliber is difficult to find and she is one player coach Johnson will surely miss now that Alyssa has officially graduated from Caldwell. "She's a huge loss for our program. She's an All-American and a great kid so it's a huge blow to the program. You can just hope that others will step up and take on a bigger role and I'm confident that we have the players that can step up. We already have great back up catchers so I think we're set," said Johnson. "But to say that we're going to miss her would just be an understatement."
"I'm going to miss the girls and my coaches. I'm going to miss the feeling of being on that field with them and I'm going to miss the fans. Those are memories that I will never forget."