Olivia Young will graduate this spring from Belleville West High School in Millstadt, IL, and while she is gearing up for her final high school season of softball, the left-handed hitting first baseman has recently made a decision that will take her into the next step of her playing career.
Young has signed with Missouri S&T (Science & Technology), a school where students study engineering, sciences and mathematics. From the softball side with the Miners, Young’s skill set will likely help a roster that has a good mixture of young and veteran-laden talent when she arrives in 2017.
We first saw Olivia in late-March 2015 at an Under Armour Softball Factory College PREP event in Florissant, MO, just outside of St. Louis, and the athletic first baseman impressed coaches and scouts with her ability to swing for power. Defensively she was quick around the bag with excellent glove work and lots of range.
Because of her impressive skill set, she went onto get looks while playing with Softball Factory last November at Softball Factory’s Fall Classic on the 18U Gold squad. At the event, she continued to develop her game and confidence overall, however, up to that point, the college recruiting process hadn’t yet become a priority or a focus.
“When I first saw her in late March at the tryout in St. Louis, she was hands down the best player there,” says Julia Rice, Olivia’s Player Development Coordinator for Softball Factory. “She had a great bat and moved very well at first. I remember talking to her dad Scott on the phone when I went over her evaluation and he let me know that she didn’t really have any schools after her.”
The reason Olivia didn’t have schools looking at her was because it was thought she was too late in the recruiting process, and that attending junior college would be the only option. But after working with the Factory, and strengthening her profile by attending and being filmed at the College PREP event in Florissant, the connections throughout the country gave Young an ace up her sleeve.
“I spoke with Dave Majeski who was one of the scouts at the event and who has a ton of college connections and we talked about Olivia,” says Rice. “We both agreed that we saw something very special in her, and even though she was a junior, we knew that she could play at the next level. She also has a 5.0 GPA and we knew that a school would be lucky to have her.”
After her great showing at the Fall Classic, Young received more attention from schools and combined with her hard work and perseverance, made the ultimate decision to go to Missouri S&T for the next step as a student-athlete. There were definitely hard times and periods of doubt, according to her father, Scott, but Olivia pushed through, bonded by the support and confidence she received from the Softball Factory staff.
“The support and confidence she received from several staff members.. that was what kept her going. In particular Dave Majeski,” Scott mentions. Majeski, a legend at the University of Florida where he played baseball and was an All-SEC outfielder, later went onto become the Assistant Softball Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at his alma mater for three years. He’s also helped to start the Memphis Women’s softball program as Assistant Coach before becoming the head coach at Presbyterian College for five seasons.
The caring for of Olivia the player but the person as well, helped to re-energize her as the search for a college gained steam.
“After meeting and talking with Dave, there seemed to be a light re-instilled, a drive in Olivia that kept her going. His confidence in her and the efforts put forth with her were what made Olivia want to play ball in college again. He made countless calls on her behalf and set her up with numerous coaches. The support that Softball Factory gave Olivia is immeasurable,” says Scott.
Now, Young begins her final high school season, armed with talent and confidence and ready to make memories at her next stop. Knowing all of that, she hasn’t forgotten where she’s been and how far she has come.
“I really appreciated all of the information given to me about recruiting and the calls you and your staff made for me,” says Olivia. “I really enjoyed my time with the Softball Factory and I have made friends I will never forget.”