A young Cecily Abbadessa was playing club softball about seven years ago when a Grand Canyon University player came to a practice.
"She helped me with a few pointers and it really made an impression," Abbadessa said. "I remember thinking if I ever get to the point where I was in a position to do the same that I would do everything I could."
The Mountain Pointe catcher is fulfilling that very well as the team's lone senior, but it doesn't stop there.
"She really strides to give back to her community," Mountain Pointe coach Mel Wendell said. "She spent the winter helping the softball team at Akimel A-al (Middle School) and just doesn't have a selfish bone in her body."
The Pride is off to a slow start, winning just three times in the first nine games, but Abbadessa has done her best to keep the team positive and lead them through the tough times.
"She does a good job of keeping us focused and ready to play," junior pitcher Ciara Gonzalez said. "When we are struggling we know she is going to do something to keep us positive."
Abbadessa, whose uncle, Phil, was the head football coach at Mountain Pointe, has always had the inkling to help others and in October was honored by the Best Buddies Arizona, an organization that helps special needs students, after she helped them get a $30,000 donation from the Pepsi Refresh Project.
"I don't know if it is my calling, but I enjoy helping people," she said. "We will see where it leads, but I can see myself doing something like that."
As of now it appears that Abbadessa will figure that out at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., where she scored a full academic scholarship and plans on meeting with the softball coaches about possibly walking on to the program.
"My dad and brother went out of state for college and it is something I knew I wanted to do," she said. "They were able to get away and experience a different kind of environment. I can't wait to go there."
Until then she will use her guidance in the Mountain Pointe dugout, meetings on the mound, bus rides and anywhere else someone on the team needs to be inspired or given a pep talk.
In other words, she is doing the work of a senior, but it is rare when it falls on a lone individual. There are other leaders, but it is clear who is running the show.
"I lean on her a lot and there is no question that she is our leader," Wendell said. "Every team, especially a young one like this year, has to have someone on the field they know they can count on and follow."
After hitting .275 last season, Abbadessa has been hovering around .300 all season although a recent slump has brought it down in recent weeks. She started the season batting seventh in the lineup and moved to third in the order.
"I love the fact that I moved up in the lineup," she said. "I'm struggling lately, but I want to be able to come through on the field. That's why we are out here, to compete and win."
Considering the team's struggles, not that it can't change, her most important role is tutoring the pitchers like Gonzalez.
"We are so much closer now than we were last year," Gonzalez said. "She is great behind the plate and helps make me better because she can help me get out of trouble. I know when I am struggling I can count on Cecily to set me straight."
Abbadessa, who is a four-year varsity player, understands that team has an eye on the future while wanting to win this season.
"I know we can do better and I want to play as long we can," she said. "They are going to better next year and I want to help lay the foundation for it."
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