Emily and Alissa Castro commit to play for Notre Dame de
Sisters Emily and Alissa Castro have shared countless hours together on the softball diamond throughout their playing days over the years.
Whether it was with Little League, travel-ball teams or with Gilroy High School, through most of the ups and downs they have been wearing the same uniform.
A 13-month age difference hasn’t allowed for much separation between the two sisters in regards to softball, and last Wednesday, Emily, 18, a freshman at Gavilan College, and Alissa 17, a senior at Gilroy High, signed – separately – their Letter of Intent to attend Notre Dame de Namur, continuing a unique softball journey together.
“We have been playing together since I was 11 and she was 10,” Emily said. “We weren’t planning on going to college together, but I think it’s a cool thing. I always say I don’t like her, but I do.”
For their big moments, Emily was accompanied by Gavilan women’s softball coach Nikki Dequin, and Alissa was joined by long-time coach Joey Gonzales, who has fine-tuned Alissa’s skills since the eighth grade.
“It was just cool to see that all my hard work had paid off and that it was all worth it,” Alissa said about making her destination official. “It hasn’t really hit me yet that I will be graduating and heading off to a four-year. I’m excited to get my life going, get into college and make a career out of something.”
The sisters’ Dad, Dennis Castro, has played an instrumental part in helping his daughters achieve their goals, preaching sportsmanship along the way.
“My dad always put us in sports and he always taught us how to be good sportsmen and good players and having a good attitude,” Alissa said. “He has been the one to help us through everything. Even though we are girls, we have always wanted to be like him.”
Needless to say, Dennis is thrilled at the opportunity to watch both of his daughters play for the same college just an hour north of Gilroy in Belmont.
“As parents, we are so proud of the girls,” Dennis said. “It is a dream for us to see all their hard work be recognized and rewarded. They have learned teamwork, humility, leadership, and gained confidence that will carry them from the diamond through the rest of their lives.
“The girls work hard at being the best they can, and if there is one thing I can say about both my daughters is that they give 110 percent and leave it all on the field, and we are so proud of them.”
Emily said that a familiarity with the coaching style of NDNU coach Steve Rianda was one of the factors leading to her decision.
“I really felt that he was a nice guy. Everyone respects him and you hear that from all the other coaches,” Emily said.
Though the pace of the game will undoubtedly increase as compared to the high school level, Alissa, who has already been exposed to talented players while a member of the Silicon Valley Glory 18 Gold, has a quiet confidence that she will acclimate well to the collegiate level.
“I have an idea of what to expect and I went to watch a few games,” Alissa said. “I went to one of (Notre Dame’s) tryouts and actually hit a home run over the fence against their pitcher.”
Despite the excitement of advancing in their softball careers, both Emily and Alissa have some unfinished business to take care of at their current locations.
Emily and the Lady Rams finished second in the Coast Conference South and have earned a spot in the NorCal Regional playoffs, which begin May 1.
Meanwhile, Alissa and the Lady Mustangs are holding tight to the second spot in the Tri-County Athletic League as the season winds down and heads toward the Central Coast Section