By: Greg Levinsky
Had Alexa Ponce not lived in a Rich Hall dorm room overlooking the BU softball field her freshman year, it’s possible her college career would have never happened.
When she enrolled at BU in the fall of 2015, Ponce did not intend on playing softball. Nearly four years later, she’s a multi-year starter and putting the finishing touches on a successful career.
Her freshman year dorm room faced the Boston University Softball Field. A week or so into her first semester, Ponce saw the team going out to practice, and she got an urge to return to the sport. Nearly four years and potentially three NCAA Tournament appearances later, the San Pedro, Calif. native is living out what she describes as “more than a dream come true.”
“It’s just kind of like a movie,” Ponce said.
Pursuing a medical career to be a family practitioner, Ponce arrived at Boston University planning to focus strictly on academics. Because she did not secure a softball scholarship, Ponce had temporarily stopped playing the game she grew up playing throughout her childhood.
“I played softball all my life, but the whole college scholarship thing didn’t work out. I wanted to come here for academics alone,” Ponce said. “I got a pretty good academic scholarship and it’s a great school.”
Quickly into her first fall semester after seeing the team practice, Ponce sent an email inquiry to then first-year head coach Ashley Waters.
“I was like, ‘I think she will probably say no, but I would hate myself if I never asked,'” Ponce said.
Luckily for both sides, Ponce reached out.
Now in her fourth year leading BU softball, Waters remembered Ponce from recruiting while serving as an assistant at Harvard.
When Ponce’s name resurfaced, this time across the bridge at BU, Waters couldn’t help but laugh at the coincidence. She had no idea Ponce was at Boston University and quickly obliged to the try out request.
“Within five minutes of her being there we knew she was going to make it,” Waters said.
Ponce accepted her position on the roster, and made an immediate impact.
As a freshman and part-time starter, she batted .380 in 29 games. Ponce earned Patriot League All-Conference Second Team honors as a sophomore, posting a .248 batting average with 17 RBIs. In helping the Terriers to their second conference title in three years, Ponce blasted her first three career home runs, appearing in a career-high 58 games with 55 starts.
The 22-year-old has played catcher, infield and outfield over her career. This season she’s spent time mainly at the corner infield positions. Ponce is batting .276 with a team-high four doubles and nine RBIs through 26 games.
“We obviously lucked out, and I think for four years she’s proven to be a mainstay on our team,” Waters said. “She was able to contribute all four years, which is a best case scenario for us.”
If it wasn’t for Boston University softball, Alexa Ponce likely would not have stayed at Boston University. It’s also true that if it wasn’t for Alexa Ponce, the Terriers would not have two NCAA Tournament appearances in the last three seasons.
“I wouldn’t have stayed at BU if I didn’t join the softball team,” Ponce said. “I was having a really hard time adjusting to Boston and being away from my family. BUSB is 100 percent what kept me here, and I’m thankful for that.
“I’m just so thankful, I can’t even explain it.”
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky