After covering women's softball for nearly a decade, I experienced a first yesterday when I interviewed Izabella “The Beast” Adams. It was my first interview with a high schooler, but Izabella is not the average high school player. That interview is at On the Beat With Izabella Adams.
You don't get nicknamed “The Beast” by being average. Izabella is far above players even much older than her. Chad Greene, State Commissioner USA Softball of SC stated, “Izabella is one to never back down from a softball challenge. Has regularly played against older players and held her own. A true competitor with the heart of a lioness.”
At 5'1” and 126 pounds, 14 year old Izabella plays much larger than her size. Gilbert Girls Softball 12U Head Coach JB Hall said, “Izabella stands out from most players who are twice her size.”
Izabella started playing softball at an early age. She wasn't always a pitcher, but she has developed into a star on the mound. Her secondary position is shortstop and her third is third base. She bats and throws right, doing both equally well.
We started the interview by discussing Izabella's start in softball, when she fell in love with the sport and when she realized she was really good. By that time, she was already catching the eyes of coaches and being recruited by travel teams.
At 14, Izabella has plenty of time to figure her future plans. She is uncommitted as of now. She would like to play college ball and possibly even professionally. That might depend on what she chooses as her career. She expressed an interest in coaching youngsters down the line.
After discussing all of that, we talked a bit about her actual pitching. Izabella throws 13 different pitches, including a knuckleball. I have never heard of a high schooler utilizing a knuckleball. Once again, Izabella defies the odds.
Softball is her passion now, but it isn't her entire life. Well-rounded, Izabella is musical, playing the flute and participating in the chorus. She also squats over 300 pounds, an amazing weight for a youngster her size. One look at her website will show plenty of softball, but also Izabella with friends, at the beach and doing other fun stuff off the field.
I came away from this experience with a lot of respect for Izabella and her father Craig. Izabella's maturity belies her young age. She still has all sorts of teenage fun, but she understands balance. She takes softball very seriously, but isn't afraid to poke at herself as witnessed in some videos on her site.
Ever the protective father, Craig asked to speak with me prior to the interview. He is supportive and encouraging, but he states Izabella is free to make her life choices. He will do everything he can to help her further her softball career, as long as it is her choice to continue on the field.
Her website has quotes from several coaches and even softball legend Jennie Finch, but perhaps the most significant come from Craig. He gives an honest assessment of Izabella. Lest anyone think it is hyperbolic praise, Craig also states she might not be the best pitcher on her team. She makes mistakes. She is human. That's all part of the package though. The bigger picture is one of a champion though.
I wanted to do this interview because I kept hearing and reading about the Beast. I enjoy following an athlete's journey from the early stages of their careers. I appreciate Izabella and her father allowing me to start following the journey at this point. She has a bright future and I plan on covering the experiences. Although a bit soft-spoken (not unusual for a 14 year old), Izabella displayed a level of maturity and focus well beyond her years.
One other thing I learned from Craig is this was Izabella's first interview. I am happy and proud to be allowed to have that honor and hope to have many more interviews with Izabella in the future.