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Extra Star Power: At 5-foot-1, ACC-bound Erika Andal Proves “It’s Not How Big You Are, It’s How Big You Play!”

Erika Andal on the field playing shortstop for Jersey Intensity 16U National Team.

Ericka Andal’s athletic journey is an amazing one: a former martial arts and music student who started playing baseball at age 4 before being discovered by a softball coach using the same complex when she was eight-years-old, the 5-foot-1 natural right-handed hitter was converted into a triple threat lefty slapper because of her 2.7 home-to-first speed.

Erika has gone from martial arts to baseball to softball where she's become an All-State honoree and Boston College commit.

As a freshman at powerful Pembroke Pines Charter (Florida), she mostly sat the bench and became discouraged, almost quitting, but decided to renew her efforts to work hard and last spring as a sophomore led her team in hitting and steals as she helped led the Jaguars to the Class 7A state title and earned 1st Team All-State honors on the way!

She also was invited to play for one of the top club organizations in the country, Jersey Intensity, and had a big year in 2018 at the 16U level.

In this first-person account, Ericka recaps her amazing career and how she ended up committing in September to her dream school in the ACC…

And be sure to check out below video clips of her flying around the bases in high school and club action!

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My parents originally came from the Philippines to the United State in 1991. I was born in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and I have a brother who is two years older than me.

At four-years-old, my brother was playing baseball and I started to play catch with him. At first, I was not into it because I was already going to a martial arts school, as well as music schools where I would learn ballet, tap dance, singing and guitar.

One day, my dad signed me up to join a baseball team since I had gone to every single one of my brother’s baseball games, and my dad thought, “Might as well play that sport.”

By my first game, all the coaches and parents told me that I was a natural ball player. Proving them correct, I was selected for the All-Star team at the end of my first season, as well as every season after that.

Erika in her early baseball days when she took to the sport so naturally, she was an All-Star her first year.

There is a softball park near our house that my dad often utilized to practice baseball with me and my brother. When I was about eight-years-old, we were doing BP and a softball team arrived to use the same field.

The softball coach just so happened to watch my hitting while he was waiting and saw me pick up a ball from the outfield and throw it home while we were wrapping up.

He then invited me to play for his team in a USSSA tournament and despite it being my first time playing softball we won the title! I fell in love with softball right away because I was so used to playing with boys all the time and playing with the girls was so much more fun at that age!

I always played at an age division two years higher than what I was supposed to, which meant I was the youngest and the smallest as well as the fastest girl on the team.


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