By Maya Gomez
Having spent her entire life with a softball in her hand, senior Lynsey Chiala is ecstatic to join the Nighthawks this fall at Northwest Nazarene University. While she is looking forward to her future with the NCAA Division II team, Chiala is also living in the now, dedicating ample time and energy to her final season as a Wildcat.
Chiala’s softball career dates back to her early years, jumping into the sport at only six years old. Citing her older sister, 2020 LGHS graduate Sarah Chiala, as her inspiration for joining, the pitcher stated, “When we were younger, we were like the sisters that hated each other; always competing and battling against each other. I was always trying to one up her.” Chiala elaborated, “So, my sister was really good at softball. I wanted to be better than her. I don’t know why, just because I was bratty like that I guess. We both had fun with the competitive side of it, and now we’re like best friends.” The two found themselves bonding over the activity, frequently working together as Chiala became a pitcher and her sister became a catcher.
Today, Chiala plays softball at Whittier College in Los Angeles, where one of Chiala’s best friends also recently committed. The athlete explained, “It’s kind of crazy because we both went through a really rough recruiting process. We cried together — a lot. It’s just very emotional, finally feeling like something paid off.” Chiala has been involved in the recruiting process since the eighth grade, when she attended her first college camp. Because of COVID-19’s unfortunate timing, Chiala felt at a disadvantage with college recruitment. “There’s a rule that you can’t talk to any colleges until you’re a junior. So I had spent years going to these camps and college coaches communicating with my coaches, and everything kind of got taken away from me because COVID hit my junior year.” In hopes of compensating for the loss of games, Chiala made attempts to email college coaches, but discovered that “because these coaches are already getting a bunch of emails, it’s really hard to stick out.”
She revealed that during this difficult time, she found herself contemplating her future plans. “I was very close to quitting. I was at the part of my life where I didn’t know if I was going to keep playing. It was really hard, having to decide between continuing to play what I’ve been working and sacrificing for or to not.” Luckily for Chiala, a Northwest Nazarene coach discovered her while playing over the summer. “It just happened out of nowhere. I was at a tournament in the middle of nowhere in Fresno. I was playing this team and one of their coaches actually coached out in Idaho. They asked me to come to a camp, and just like that, I was set.”
Devoted, competitive, and excited to play softball and study criminal justice in Idaho, Chiala is soaking up her time left in Los Gatos. Spot number 36 out on the LGHS softball field this season!