The New York Mets have a strong influence on senior softball outfielder Shea Walsh.
The senior’s parents Kobi and Mark named her after Shea Stadium and she wore number five up until Marist to honor former Mets third baseman, David Wright. Unfortunately, the number had been taken her freshman year, so she decided to double up and now wears 55 for the red and white.
Walsh was born and raised in Robbinsville, NJ, and is one of three children. Her older sister Ryan is a third-grade elementary school teacher while her younger brother Andrew is about to graduate from Robbinsville High School and is going into trade. She also has two dogs, Chesney– named after country singer Kenny Chesney– and Tucker.
The Walsh family from left to right: Kobi, Ryan, Andrew, Shea, Mark
“I think my parents did a very good job of teaching me and my siblings how to be humble,” Walsh said. “At the end of the day, your success will make noise for you and make you known. And I think my parents did a really good job of teaching me and my siblings to put your head down and get your work in. And at the end, it’ll all pay off.”
Her dad reminded her of these lessons growing up because he was her softball coach up until graduating high school. He treated her like any other player, not his daughter.
“We’ve established a really good relationship and being my coach growing up was tough. I mean, there’s a separation between him being my dad and him being my coach. But he’s a great help both physically and mentally knows the game really well and I go to him for a lot of things,” said Walsh.
The combination of the lessons Walsh’s parents emphasized, being pushed by her dad, and her uber-competitive nature culminated in the most successful moment of her young softball career in 2014, winning the Little League Softball World Series 4-1 over Louisiana in Portland, Oregon.
Walsh number five and the softball team after defeating Louisiana 4-1 for LLSWS
“From the beginning, we knew we had the team to do it,” said Walsh. “We were a very disciplined, talented team. It just kind of took off after we won districts, Then we got to regionals and went up to Connecticut and that was overnight. So each state had their own little
dorm setup, and we got to hang out and talk to all the different states and all the girls.”
That year marked the fourth time in seven years that a team from Robbinsville appeared in the LLSWS. The reception they got from the town, “celebration day,” is something she will never forget.
“I mean you get off the bus and you have the whole town there with banners and all different noise-making stuff. It was just really special and to do that with 12 of my really good friends was awesome,” said Walsh. “The crowd that came out was crazy, the amount of people in the town that followed us throughout that whole summer and then came out to support us and honor that.”
It wasn’t only softball that she had success in, she excelled in field hockey as well. In high school, she racked up 76 goals and 21 assists in three seasons. Whether it was pasta parties with the team, traveling together, or scoring goals, she loved every moment of the sport.
“I do miss it,” she said. “I just liked how fast-paced the game was. I mean, some of the goals I had, I’ll never forget my one-on-one with the goalies. After someone’s scored, we’d all come together and huddle or do a chest bump. Nothing beats celebrations after goals.”
Walsh playing field hockey for Robbinsville High School
Walsh’s drive and success led her to sign a letter of intent for field hockey for Division II school Long Island University Post. She was set on playing for them, but in the fall of her senior year, she received a call that changed the course of her collegiate career.
Walsh was told she had lost her scholarship offer after LIU Post merged with LIU Brooklyn where they then joined Division I.
“I kind of had to take a step back and realize what I really wanted to do here. I knew I loved softball, but at that time I was in season for field hockey, and I really did consider playing field hockey in college. I love the game,” she said.
Though field hockey fell through, the senior still had softball as an option, and it was Marist that fell into her lap as softball head coach Joe Ausanio wanted her to come to Poughkeepsie, which is what she decided to do.
Coming to Poughkeepsie, the outfielder knew she wanted to major in something related to the medical field because her mother is a nurse. So she chose to major in human biology and minor in psychology.
One of the biggest challenges in Walsh’s freshman year was overcoming her shyness.
“I really would just keep to myself. I didn’t really talk to the coaches. I showed up to practice, went back to my dorm and that was really it,” said Walsh.
But as the months of her first year went on, she became more accustomed to the workload in her major and minor and started making friends and connections in and out of the classroom.
Then in March 2020, the pandemic halted everything and forced students into remote learning, just when Walsh was finding herself and her people, and the softball season was only a month in.
Walsh hadn’t been fully healthy during the softball season as she injured her back, which made her go to physical therapy, something that felt like destiny.
“The pandemic hit, we were sent home, and I started going to physical therapy just to get myself right. And it was almost like a blessing in disguise, I would say because I stepped into the clinic. And I was just like, wow, I could see myself doing this,” said Walsh.
Indeed she did end up doing this as her success in the classroom led her to an internship at an outpatient physical therapy clinic in Fishkill.
“I picked that place just because it had such great reviews and the faculty was so welcoming. He [her physical therapist] challenged me in many ways that I hadn’t been challenged. It was more hands-on which was awesome,” said Walsh.
She learned a tremendous amount from her hands-on experience with the outpatient clinic, but one of her biggest takeaways was realizing what age group she pictured herself working with.
“There was this one younger girl who came in, she was probably about 12 years old, and she was a gymnast. She had broken her elbow doing gymnastics. She was just happy to be there,” said Walsh. “She came in, got all of her exercises done, easy to talk to. [It was] just cool working alongside an athlete of a younger age who still has so much to learn and to grow and to succeed.”
Aside from Walsh’s success in academics, she has loved her time in Poughkeepsie. The Walkway Over the Hudson, going to other Marist games, making friends, greeting everyone in McCann, or going to the dining hall with the softball team after practice, she’s cherished every moment of her four years.
The outfielder will miss everything about Marist, including playing softball and having her parents cheering her on at most games.
“They’re at almost every single game, regardless of the drive or the flight,” said Walsh. “They’re very dedicated, which is really awesome just that they can be a part of this journey with me because I’ve had so many great relationships built through this program and great memories. I’ve learned so many life lessons, and for them to be a part of it with me and for me to want them to be a part of it is huge.”
Walsh will continue her education at South College in Nashville, TN to earn her doctorate in physical therapy where she hopes to work in pediatrics one day.
Though the senior’s time at Marist is winding down as there is only about a month until she graduates, Walsh is eagerly awaiting what is to come.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane and Andrew Hard
Feature image from Marist Athletics, photos from Shea Walsh