Aleshia Ocasio says, ‘Goooo Gators!’
News-Gazette Photo/Rick Pedone
Harmony High pitcher Aleshia Ocasio celebrated her softball scholarship to UF recently at the high school media center with her father, Anthony Ocasio, right, and her brother, Austin.
By Rick Pedone
Harmony softball standout Aleshia “Lele” Ocasio and the University of Florida finally got together this spring, and both entities seem pretty happy about that.
Ocasio signed a national letter of intent to play for the Southeastern Conference juggernaut and celebrated with her teammates, coaches and Harmony administrators at a signing ceremony at the high school media center.
Joined by her brother, Austin, a state champion weightlifter for St. Cloud High last year, and her father, Anthony, Lele took the opportunity to thank her support system at the high school.
“I appreciate all the help and support I got from my teammates. They were an important part of it, and I really want to thank them. They are like my second family,” Ocasio said. “I couldn’t have done this without their help, and also all of the help I received from my coaches.”
Anthony Ocasio said that he considered the Harmony softball team part of his family.
“That’s really the way it is. All of you were a part of making this happen, and we’re very thankful that you are here to share this special moment with Lele,” he said.
Ocasio may be the most talented softball player ever to come from Osceola County.
She has been a varsity starter all four seasons at Harmony and helped the team reach the state tournament twice. A member of the Puerto Rico National Team last year, Ocasio, a first-team Class 7A all-state selection, is 21-1 with a 0.71 ERA this season. She has 214 strikeouts in 125.2 innings pitched.
She also leads the team with a .471 batting average and 31 RBIs, and her 15 stolen bases is second to Lily Mann’s 19. Mann, a junior, will sign with UF next year.
The Gators are ranked No. 5, have won four SEC championships and are bidding for their 10th College World Series appearance.
“I’m excited about the signing of Lele,” Gators Coach Tim Walton said.
“She is a tremendous athlete and is very versatile on the field. Aleshia can play every position, and she will compete in her freshman year to get on the field at just about every spot. She’s one of the best players in the state, and she’s gained experience playing across the country.”
Ocasio committed to Florida Gulf Coast University last year, but she changed her mind one day before signing with the South Florida university.
“That seemed to be the right choice for me at the time, but the more I thought about it, I thought that I had the ability to compete at the highest level, and so that’s what I decided to do,” she said. “The people there (at FCG) were great. But, at this time, Florida is the right place for me.”