Record breaker heads south
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera Coyotes’ record-setting pitcher Alexis “Noodles” Galvan signs a National Letter of Intent to play softball at UC Riverside.
Madera Coyotes softball pitcher Alexis Galvan began her career four years ago as a touted freshman with a popular nickname.
Four years later, “Noodles” finished her four year-career as one of the top pitchers in Madera Coyotes softball history.
“I loved every second of my career,” Galvan said. “It was fun. The coaching was good and they made everything easier. I wouldn’t have wanted to go to any other school. Once a Coyote, always a Coyote.”
Galvan’s name is littered in the Coyotes’ softball record books. She placed top 10 in nine categories. She also set the school record for most strikeouts in a career with 549, breaking Madera Athletic Hall of Famer Nikki Zenger’s mark that was set in 1994.
“It feels good to be among some of the best,” Galvan said. “I didn’t even know I was that close to the top. It was crazy when I found out. God is good. I worked so hard for this. It all fell in my hands.”
In addition, she struck out 226 batters this season, one short of second place all-time, but it was the most strikeouts since 2008. She threw the most innings in a season since 2016 and tossed the most innings in a career since Zenger did it. She also tried the school record for most strikeouts in a seven-inning game with 15, and she did it twice.
Galvan also finished third in most wins in a career, finishing behind Mitzi and Nikki Zenger. She also was second in shutouts in a career and tied for third for most shutouts in a season, and most since 2016. And she did all of that while missing three-quarters of her sophomore season due to the pandemic.
Now, Galvan has her sights set on Southern California after signing a National Letter of Intent to play softball at UC Riverside.
Galvan had choices of Sonoma State, CSU Pueblo and other smaller NAIA schools, but chose UC Riverside because it felt like home and it’s a Div. I school that plays in the Big West Conference.
“I visited other schools and it didn’t feel like home,” she said. “When I was on the Riverside campus, everything felt homey. I could actually call this my home the next four years. The girls and coaches were nice. Also, the fact that it’s somewhat close to home. It was better than my other choices.”
This was a change in her mind since her freshman and sophomore year before the COVID pandemic hit and she had more time to spend at home.
“My freshman and sophomore year, I wanted to go as far away as possible,” she said. “I wanted to get away. Then, when it became real, I really didn’t want to go.”
About three months ago, Galvan made her decision during the middle of the season, and it helped turn her season around.
“When I went on campus for my official visit, I was iffy about it,” she said. “The next day, I was supposed to fly out to Colorado State, but I really liked it at UC Riverside. I talked to my parents and said I wanted to go here. I talked to the coach from CSU and told them I found my home. I thanked them. They were very understanding. She said she was happy for me. She said if things doesn’t work out, let us know. I ran back into the office and told them I wanted to go here and they were excited.”
However, after making that decision, Galvan worked to improve on her season and enjoy the rest of the year.
“In the middle of the season, the team kind of turned and said they wanted to go far,” she said. “They wanted to be here, want to have fun and want to ball. We did that and got really far.”
Galvan was The Madera Tribune’s Most Valuable Player last year and was the Co-Pitcher of the Year this year. She was the County/Metro Conference’s Pitcher of the Year the past two season.
After signing, the stress went away from Galvan.
“I didn’t have to send out emails for a tournament,” Galvan said. “I felt relieved. It wouldn’t have every happened without my travel coach. He worked really hard for me. It was crazy how much he did in one day. The first week I was on his team, I had 15 calls from colleges. I wasn’t looking for a Div. I school or something big. I was looking something small and something I can afford close to home. God just handed it all to me. He told me to go with it. It was crazy.”
Galvan, who had a 3.8 grade point average at Madera High School, plans to major in biology to eventually become a pediatrician.
“They told me not to major in biology my freshman year,” she said. “I said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me that earlier.’ I’m stressing out and I haven’t even gone to class. I’m ready to go, but I’m more nervous to be away from home because I’m close to my family.”
Galvan’s family, including her younger brother and sister, can be seen at every game. She said her mom still gets emotional when thinking about her going to college.
“She still cries when I say I’m going to leave,” Alexis said. “I say she will be knocking on my door. They were relieved when I chose UC Riverside. They have taken me to tournaments. They were on me to do the things to do for college. It was a weight off their shoulders.”
She thinks she will miss her family more, but she also knows she is just a few hours away.
“I’m going to miss them more,” she said. “My little sister is asking me when I’m leaving. It’s going to be hard for all of us. I’m like the second mom of the house.”