The junior year for a high school student-athlete is a pivotal one if he or she aspires to play at the collegiate level, especially if they desire to suit up at the high ranks of their sport.
Seeing that the high school softball season is in jeopardy of being canceled at any moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan Tesser and her dad, Lawerence, kicked up their efforts to increase her college exposer in the meantime.
At first, Lawerence started to shoot videos sometime last year to showcase his daughter’s impressive softball skill set despite her five-foot-three stature. But her diamond abilities have grown since then.
“We used to tape videos on my dad’s GoPro,” said Tesser, who plays softball for Long Island’s’ JFK High School in Bellmore. “We found it to be useful softball-wise. (Right now), I’m doing all that I can under the circumstances. I feel I’m on the right path.”
In Tesser’s videos, you can view her hitting off multiple tees, taking hacks in batting cages, swinging underwater, and engaging in all sorts of fielding drills. And my favorite: smacking a rubber tire that’s attached to a long, metal pole connected to a tee that rotates as she makes contact.
Tesser says it has helped her increase her strength at the point of impact.
Have the videos helped her exposure? Well, Tesser tells the story of a player at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, who insisted on knowing her. It turns out it was the result of her Twitter posts.
“It was very complementary,” she said. “She insisted that she knew me. She asked me my name and that’s when she said it was because of the Twitter videos. My friend said that was crazy that had happened.”
Working hard at softball, with parents that are both podiatrists, is nothing new to the 17-year-old infielder. The Merrick resident spends approximately two to threes hours a day at her craft, sometimes more, and has three hitting coaches, a fielding coach, and a strength trainer.
Tesser said she has lost 30 pounds and has become faster and stronger over the year.
Additionally, she plays for highly regarded national Intensity Softball’s New Jersey program, commuting anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours for practice and play, and travels all over the country for tournaments.
Plus, Tesser will suit up for TCS International Games as a member of Team Israel in Colorado this summer.
Seeing that there aren’t any softball games at the moment, Kevin O’Donnell — a coach and owner of Intensity Softball — admires the undying effort and ingenuity that Tesser has displayed these days.
“I think she’s doing a tremendous job so far,” O’Donnell said of Tesser positing Twitter videos of her training routine. “This (her junior year) is the primetime of her recruitment. She is a new age athlete with the videos.”
As fas as her progress, O’Donnell said she puts in more than the required work to improve every day.
“She has exceeded expectations,” he said. “If you’d have seen where she started, and where she is now, it’s been a tremendous transformation. She’s a whole different player than she was a year ago.
“She wants to get to where wants to go,” O’Donnell continued. “She’s a brilliant girl. It’s about her and her continuing self-development. She’s doing all the right things. You don’t have to tell her twice. In fact, you don’t have to tell her at all. She gets it done.”
Tesser said that she wants to attend a few D-I schools in North Carolina, with the exception of the University of Connecticut. And she’s doing all within her power to get there, bar none.
When people ask her if all the time and effort have been worth it, Tesser, a very good student as well, says the love of the sport and playing at the highest possible college level that her abilities will take her are her driving forces.
Plus, she said, it’s still a blast.
“Very few people understand it,” she explained of her D-I College softball determination. “They think I’m crazy. It doesn’t faze me at all. I wouldn’t be doing it as much as I do if it wasn’t fun.”
To watch more of Tesser’s Twitter videos, connect with her @morgantesser.