Senior spotlight: Albert Gallatin shortstop hits all the right notes

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Monday, May 4, 2020 | 4:35 PM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

Annalia Paoli plays a mean shortstop. But did you know the senior softball star from Albert Gallatin also plays the guitar and violin?

The down time over the last month-plus has given her a chance to get reacquainted with her musical instruments.

“I don’t usually play certain songs,” she said. “I’ll normally just come up with my own music and go from there.”

An Ohio recruit, Paoli helped orchestrate 44 wins during her three years as a starter for the Colonials, who reached the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals twice with her in the lineup. They reached the PIAA quarterfinals two seasons ago.

Last season, she batted .482 with 27 hits, a team-leading 25 runs scored, 17 RBIs and eight extra-base hits.

Paoli committed to Pitt when she was a freshman but later changed her decision to Ohio.

What has been the most challenging part of the covid-19 shutdown for you?

Not being able to play my senior season. I was really looking forward for what was to come. Everyone worked really hard this year, and I knew we were going to do great things.

What made you decide to change your commitment from Pitt to Ohio?

When coach Holly (Aprile) left, I opened my options back up. I then decided that Ohio University had everything I was looking for, from academics to their softball program and an amazing coaching staff that truly believes in me.

What was your last normal moment before everything changed?

It was on Friday, March 13 when the team was together for the last time and we had our pictures taken for the season.

What people, places or things have you valued more during the down time?

During this pandemic, I get to spend more time with my family before I head off to college. I also have been taking advantage of getting to practice softball on my own at home. The most important thing I learned is to never take anything for granted because you never know what life may throw at you. This down time has taught me to value the people that are risking their lives to save ours.

Have you titled any songs you’ve played on your guitar or violin? Anything from current times that inspired you?

I learned the song “When You Say Nothing at All,” by Alison Krause. My mom has always loved that song and it reminds me of her every time I hear it and play it.

You must have very supportive “softball parents”?

Yes. My mom and I are really close. We do everything together. She’s my biggest supporter. My dad is too.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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