DOUGLAS — Another Douglas High School athlete is taking their skills to the next level.
Janae Aleman recently signed her National Letter of Intent to play softball for Eastern Arizona College the 2021 season. She joins teammate Alondra Lugo who signed to play for Eastern in March. Aleman, who will be playing first base for the Gila Monsters while Lugo will be pitching, stated it’s nice knowing she will have a familiar teammate to help her with the transition.
The future Lady Gila Monster said she’s excited about the opportunity to play collegiate softball.
“I really love playing softball and saw this as a great opportunity,” she said. “I can’t wait to get over there and start practicing.”
Aleman was awarded second team All Gila Region honors as a junior. Her senior year, however, was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. She has grown up in Douglas playing softball in both the DGASL (Douglas Girls Amateur Softball League) and Douglas Little League where she was a member of the District 8 championship team that advanced to the state tournament only to lose to Flagstaff in the championship game. Her two older brothers, Ozzie and Zaylan, were standout athletes at DHS. Zaylan just finished his sophomore year at EAC playing baseball for the Gila Monsters.
Aleman said she’s really enjoyed her four years at Douglas High School. She admits she was disappointed her senior year was cut short the way it was due to COVID-19.
“It was hard, especially not being able to play even one game on our home field,” she said. “I really wanted to finish my senior year with my teammates.”
To keep herself in softball condition Aleman has been working out with her brothers lifting weights, doing cardio workouts, hitting and even some fielding.
“My family has really been supportive of my desire to play softball,” Aleman said. “None of this would be possible without their support. I also want to thank my coaches. I’ve learned a lot from them.”
“I’m super excited for Janae.” Lorena Tapia, Aleman’s softball coach at DHS, said. “After our season was cut short we thought everything was done. We kept in contact with the coach (at Eastern) because we knew she really liked Janae. She had done a visit last year and things looked promising for her. When we got the news that the coach wanted her, we were very happy. Both Janae and Alondra deserve this scholarship. They have worked really hard to make it to the next level. It is always a good feeling when one of our hometown kids gets to move on and play their sport.”
Aleman has been following the news and is aware collegiate softball has been pushed back to the spring.
She says she’s still planning on reporting to college in August, however, and will be ready when practice begins in the spring.
“I’m hoping this experience will help me to open up more and get out of my shell,” she said. “I’m really excited to start this new chapter in my life.”