Amanda Callahan and Carly Ortz of Austintown are very good friends.
The two girls play on the Fitch softball team where Callahan is a pitcher and Ortz is her usual catcher. The pair has gotten so close they basically finish each other’s sentences. That is why it is extra special that the duo were picked together to represent Fitch on the Northeast Ohio District Underclassmen All Star team. This team is comprised of all-star caliber kids who still have high school eligibility remaining. The all-star squad will play in a tournament starting on June 21 in Pickerington, against all stars from the other three Ohio softball districts. In order to be chosen to the 20-girl roster, Callahan and Ortz had to compete against at least 200 additional superstar athletes from around the state. This is the first time any player from Fitch has been chosen to be a part of this elite group.
“This is a testament to where our program is headed,” said Fitch head coach Melody Ward. “What a great way to begin a new softball year. Two of our now senior leaders are being recognized as two of the best in the district. They are big-time players who have been starting for us since they were freshmen. I am so proud of these girls.”
Callahan and Ortz respect the amount of praise that is being heaped upon them, but both ladies admitted they are still in awe of this achievement.
“This is actually amazing,” said Callahan a day after the announcement was made. “When the call came it was nerve racking, but when (the coach) said I made the team I was so excited.”
Naturally, Ortz felt the same way her softball sister did.
“I was shocked at first,” she said on her cell phone. “I feel like all the hard work I’ve been doing since I was four (years old) has paid off.”
The biggest pay off of this entire appointment is that the two BFFs get to share this honor. The girls would have been thrilled to be selected solo, but are overjoyed that it became a joint venture.
“It’s pretty amazing (being with Carly),” Callahan conceded. “Carly is my best friend.”
“I’d rather go with Amanda than anyone else,” Ortz shouted.
It will also be nice that the Falcons will be represented on such a prestigious stage. Both players are ecstatic to be the first Falcons to fill this all star roster and another of their coaches couldn’t be prouder.
“We have never had a girl selected (to this all star team) let alone two,” said Fitch assistant head coach Steve Ward via email. “These girls are a big reason why we were successful this season. This year we talked a lot to our girls about earning respect in the area, conference and in the district. I can confidently say they helped us do that. They will represent Austintown Fitch with class and dignity.”
While Callahan was the class of the Fitch pitching rotation, she was not selected to be in the center circle on the all star team. Instead, Callahan will call a crowded outfield her home.
“Coach (Jim Noall) said I have a great arm, but I made the team as an outfielder,” said Callahan. “It is still an accomplishment to make it as an outfielder. There will be six outfielders on the team. I can play leftfield, centerfield or rightfield. We will be rotating and whoever has the best chemistry will start I guess.”
There is no guessing why Ortz made the roster. It is because of the soon-to-be-senior’s eye-catching catching prowess.
“My catching ability got me in,” Ortz said honestly. “I’m not always a great hitter, but they wanted me behind the plate.”
Although Ortz is already a keeper at catcher, there are some areas of her game where she thinks she can learn more.
“I’d like to improve on blocking pitches,” Ortz explained. “I expect a lot out of myself.”
Everyone in Austintown will be expecting a lot out of Amanda and Carly in the next few weeks. Practice for the tournament begins the week of June 14. It is always said that “practice makes perfect.” In the case of these two Fitch friends, practice makes a perfect pair.