California Grapettes - McNair:
Name: Maalia Cherry
Nickname: Double A
Hometown: Fairfield, California
Grad Year: 2024
Travel Team: California Grapettes - McNair
High School: Vanden High School
Positions: First Base & Outfielder
Height: 6 ft
Overhand Velocity: 62
Exit Velocity off Tee: 85 mph
Home to First or 20 yds: 3.21
Intended Study Major: Engineering
Softball Scholarship Offers: Fresno State & San Jose State; Being recruited by other D1 Power 5 programs
You’re an elite blue chip prospect. What else should we know about you?
I love art: drawing and painting, I love to bake, and I love playing basketball.
Maalia holds scholarship offers for both softball & basketball
How did your softball journey begin?
My older brother started T-Ball at 6 years old and I was 4 and I always wanted to do whatever he did. So I kept trying to play right alongside him during his practices. My dad noticed that I was pretty good, so he asked the local softball league if I could sign up early.
What are your greatest strengths as a softball player?
My greatest strengths are my hitting power and being a communicative and supportive player/teammate.
What kind of hitter are you and what are your most recent offensive stats?
I am more of a contact hitter. My strength allows for a lot of balls to get out of the yard. I never try to hit homers, I just try to make solid contact. My batting average for this past Summer (which was 5 tournaments that included Colorado Sparkfire and PGF) was .413 with a slugging percentage of .908. I also had 14 homeruns and 49 RBI’s.
“Maalia is a unique combination of power and speed. She is a threat to hit it out on every pitch and also hits for average and can beat out infield hits! Maalia is also a smart player and supportive teammate. She is fun to watch!!! I love to watch her diving and hustling all over the field. She never misses and opportunity to impress!!”
--- Coach Moose McNair, California Grapettes – McNair
Describe your leadership style and what characteristics do you find in outstanding leaders?
I like to lead by example and cheer my teammates on. I am not one to be negative.
How do you balance your life and manage your time so effectively?
I balance my life by planning my week on my calendar with upcoming practices and game times which helps me determine when I should do my homework and when I can participate in other activities and events.
Describe your game day mental preparation and your thought process and mindset on the field and/or the batters box.
My mental preparation is to relax and focus on proper mechanics. When I get to the batter’s box I remind myself to keep those proper mechanics and keep my eye on the ball so I can get a solid hit.
“Maalia is a wonder person with great self-confidence. She is a high level athlete that can perform and even thrive under pressure. What I really love about Maalia, she understands the importance of being coachable by accepting and learning from her mistakes. She is a relentless competitor and natural leader, always encouraging and lifting up her teammates. Maalia's passion to succeed in everything she sets her mind to is contagious."
--- Assistant Coach John Hernandez - California Grapettes - McNair
What is your favorite sports memory and greatest achievement?
When I was in the 8th grade I won the Golden Glove Award and a bat at the AST College showcase for best fielder and best hitter.
Maalia as usual on top of the leader board with an impressive 85 mph exit velocity
How do you handle adversity and even failure?
How I handle adversity and failure is by putting in the extra work and working harder. Just this past Summer I was sick during PGFs, but my dad and I went to the fields early and sometimes stayed late to put in the extra work.
“As a trainer and not a dad I have worked with many college and pro athletes and Maalia is the hardest working and strongest athlete I’ve been around, honestly. No one will ever question her effort or strength in any sport”
--- Jamaal Cherry
5th place at PGF Nationals Premier and 5th place at Colorado Sparkler in the Supplemental Power Pool
How would your teammates and friends describe you?
I think they would say that I am nice and motivational. I tend to lead the softball cheers and I’m normally the one cheering everyone on saying they can do it.
CA Grapettes - McNair
“Despite Maalia's dominance, killer instinct, and dedicated mindset, Maalia Cherry is the most selfless player I've ever known. The reason she is so remarkable is because, she cares more for her teammates than anything she herself could ever do, which makes her even better."
--- Ava Hernandez, Teammate
Who is your role-model and or idol and why?
Sierra Romero – When I first really started watching softball Sierra was ripping it up in the College World Series.
If you could spend a day with any softball player, former or current, who would it be and why?
Jocelyn Alo – she is the current GOAT at hitting homers and I’m compared to her a lot and I’d like to get some pointers.
What is your softball dream/goal?
I have a few 😊. To break Alo’s homerun record, to win a National Championship and to play in the Olympics.
Maalia with 5 Over the Fence balls - Nuke Launches!
Describe your perfect softball team.
I would like to be coached hard and pushed but also treated fairly with no politics. A place where all my teammates work hard together.
When deciding on what college team to play for what are the most important things you’re looking for?
First would be academics. I want to go somewhere that sets me up for life after softball. Second, would be the community and culture within and around the school.
"Hits balls out of pro baseball fields. High batting average and great fielder with soft hands, only 1 error last year and that was in the outfield, dropped ball during exchange. Extremely fast and athletic for being 6’0" 235 lbs."
--- Jamaal Cherry
What gets you hyped or ready before a game?
Listening to music or talking to my teammates.
What is your favorite jersey number and why did you choose it?
#26 – That’s my favorite number because it’s my birth date is the 26th of April and my birth year is 2006.
What other hobbies do you have to balance out softball and your personal life?
I like to bake and practice engineering by building my Lego robot and programming.
Who would you like to thank for your softball achievements and support?
I would like to thank all of my family and friends. Especially my parents and my older brother. I would also like to thank VEE Sports and all my travel softball coaches for always supporting me and having my back even when I have tough days.
Additional Information About Maalia:
Walk up Song: Wipe Me Down (Boosie, Webbie, Fox)
Favorite Food: Italian Food
Favorite Song: Dandelions (Ruth B)
Favorite Music Artist: Beyonce’
Favorite Sports Team: San Francisco Giants
Favorite Sports Celebrity: Stephen Curry
Favorite Movie: The Hate You Give
Favorite Sports Movie: Love & Basketball
Favorite TV Show: Wednesday
Favorite Book: The Hate You Give
Favorite Travel Spot: Hawaii
Favorite Quote: “Ours will get you yours” – my basketball coach (Coach Tet)
Legacy & Legends Softball, February 2, 2023; Denny Lang