FORT MYERS, Fla. - In mid-May, Carmen Paez drove to Lowell, Mass., home of the New England Riptide of the six-team National Pro Fastpitch League, after being offered a roster spot sight-unseen from the team's head coach.
The former Eagle softball standout struggled in her first few games as a rookie after dealing with her team losing and her coach being fired.
"If you look historically at her time here with us, she didn't do well in the fall," said FGCU softball coach Dave Deiros. “Look at her starts. In her first tournament this season, she started 2-for-19. But once she gets in a groove, she’ll be difficult to deal with.”
After hitting in the low .200s, Paez is up to .270, fourth on the team. Her three home runs and 14 RBI rank second for New England. She also ranks third on the team in slugging percentage.
“At the beginning, she was having trouble hitting certain pitchers,” Riptide owner Joe Adlman said. “She’s seeing better competition than in college. Every night, it’s an adjustment. But the one thing that impresses us is her huge work ethic. She wants to make this thing work."
Recently, Paez had a home run and six RBI against Chinese Taipei.
Paez said she has enjoyed her time as a pro. She likes being around her teammates, working out at Gold’s Gym for free and being able to focus on just softball.
“I love it," said Paez. "I’d tell anybody to try out if they have a chance.”
Philadelphia Force 17-7
Washington Glory 18-10
Chicago Bandits 13-11
Akron Racers 12-12
New England Riptide 13-15
Rockford Thunder 11-13