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Must See Elite 2026 Prospect Ava Tapia; Power Hitting C/OF; Tier 1 Firecrackers Premier - TJ; 72 OHV

Firecrackers Fastpitch Organization:

Name: Ava Tapia

Hometown: Upland, CA

Grad Year: 2026

GPA: 4.17

Travel Team:

- Firecrackers Premier - TJ 2026

- Mexico National Olympic Team

High School: Upland High School, CA

Positions: Catcher / OF

Height: 5’ 6”

Bat/Throw: Right/Right

Pop Times: 1.6 - 1.7 (Verified)

Overhand Velocity: 72 mph (Verified)

Intended Study Major: Elementary Education


Twitter: @avajamestapia

Instagram: @avajamestapia


Who are you?

I’m Ava James Tapia. I’m a 2026 catcher/outfielder from Upland, California and I love softball more than anything. Softball has been my life ever since I was a little girl and it has molded me and shaped me into the person I am today. This sport has taught me so much more than how to be an athlete. It has taught me how to stay focused and dedicated to what’s important to me, how to never give up even when things seem to reach an all time low, and has blessed me with so many amazing friendships.

All around softball has taught me so many valuable life lessons that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It has helped me become the hard worker I am today and taught me that nothing is handed to anyone because if you stop your grind your spot can be taken like that, same with how things are in real life. I often take the way I approach softball and apply it in my everyday life too, for instance when it comes to school or friends because everything good is worth working for.

How did your softball journey begin?

I started playing softball just before my eighth birthday when one of my friends at the time asked me to sign up with her. I didn’t know anything about softball and really only signed up to hang out with my friend more, but I ended up loving it and showing some raw talent so I stuck with it.

What are your greatest strengths as a softball player?

I’d say my greatest strengths as a softball player are being a great teammate, my competitiveness and my no give up attitude. I support all my teammates and genuinely want them to all succeed. My competitive drive pushes me to continue to work and be successful and help my team however I can. On those tough days where I maybe didn’t play my best and want to give up I allow myself to be in that space for a minute then tell myself it’s time to get back to work and obtain those goals I’ve set for myself.

What kind of hitter are you and what are your most recent stats?

I would say I’m a contact hitter that focuses on hitting line drives. In 2022 I batted .302 with a team leading 12 home runs and 68 RBI’s in travel with a schedule comprised of mostly nationally ranked teams. In high school I batted .342 with 5 home runs.

Final stats for Colorado Sparkler and the Alliance Super Cup

Batted .642, going 9-14

4 HR’s

4 singles

1 double

3 walks

11 RBI’s

NOTE: Defensively caught 27 innings; gave up 1 stolen base threw out 2 picked off 1.

NOTE: Team finished 5th overall at PGF (Premier) out of 76 teams

What is your favorite sports memory and greatest achievement?

My favorite sports memory would be competing at the U15 Pan American games in Peru this past April. It was an amazing experience and I met so many great people that I made so many unforgettable memories with.

My greatest achievement would definitely be making the Mexico Junior National Team. It had been one of my goals the past year or so, so to find out that I had made the team was an amazing moment for me.

How do you handle adversity and even failure?

In this sport adversity and failure are inevitable and I’ve experienced plenty, but it’s important to stay positive, go back to the drawing board when necessary, work hard and continue going after your own personal goals.

How would your teammates and friends describe you?

My teammates would probably describe me as more quiet and focused whereas my friends would probably describe me as caring, someone who would do anything for them and more goofy.

Who is your role-model and or idol and why?

I’d have to say my role-model is my grandpa because he’s shown me first hand what it means to be hard working. He’s worked so hard his entire life and it just really inspires me. He’s also always been so selfless and puts other people’s needs before his own. He has such a big heart and has always been there to support me through anything.

If you could spend a day with any softball player, former or current, who would it be and why?

I’d say it’s a toss up between UCLA assistant coach, Lisa Fernandez, or Florida State catcher, Michaela Edenfield. I’ve had the honor of interviewing Lisa Fernandez for a school project when I was younger and she gave such great advice and she’s so knowledgeable, so I feel a day with her could be beneficial in so many ways.

Spending the day with Michaela Edenfield would be pretty cool too. Watching her catch during the College World Series I just loved her confidence, but how she also seemed so relaxed behind the plate. In an interview she did after one of the games she talked about doing anything she could for her team, whether on offense, defense or both and I really related to that. Plus her makeup is always fun and it makes her stand out.

(Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports)

What is your softball dream/goal?

My two biggest softball goals are to play for a Division 1 college and to compete in the Olympic Games.

When deciding on what college team to play for what are the most important things you’re looking for?

When deciding on a college I definitely have some favorites, but ultimately I want to play for a D1 program with an atmosphere on campus that is strong in school spirit. Playing for a coaching staff that believes in me and what I can bring to the program would be amazing too.

What is your favorite jersey number and why did you choose it?

My favorite jersey number is definitely #7. I used to wear 11 but when I joined a team in 10u 11 was already taken so I picked #7 because of Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and it’s just stuck with me ever since.

What other hobbies do you have to balance out softball and your personal life?

When I’m not doing something softball related I love hanging out with friends and family. I also love baking and going to the beach.

Who would you like to thank for your softball achievements and support?

My family will probably always come first because they’ve been so supportive and continue to push and encourage me.

I also owe so much to two of my coaches, Coach TJ and Coach Randy Yuge. I’m so appreciative of all they do for me and I know they believe in me and that just makes me want to work that much harder to make not only them proud, but my family as well.

What do coaches say about Ava?

"As a person and young lady: very nice soul, willing to do whatever for anyone! On the field: very fierce competitor, GREAT arm and has hit many a homerun when we needed a big hit which shows me pressure doesn't bother her! Overall a very good player, but a better teammate and person."

--- Head Coach TJ Houshmandzadeh, Firecrackers Premier - TJ 2026

Coach TJ and Ava

"Ava Tapia performs very well as a catcher, she is agile in her blocking movements and gets rid of the ball very fast on her throws to the bases. She makes strong throws with good accuracy and displays good guidance on pop-up foul balls. Offensively she has good batting technique and quick hands. She is fast and knows how to run bases. If she continues with good work ethic and guidance, she'll have an opportunity to advance further with Team Mexico."

--- Co-Head Coach Nancy Prieto Garcia, Mexico National Olympic Team

Additional Information About Ava

Walk up Song: A Lot by 21 Savage

Favorite Food: Pasta

Favorite Song: She by Harry Styles

Favorite Sports Team: Dodgers

Favorite Sports Celebrity: Freddie Freeman

Favorite Movie: The Notebook

Favorite Sports Movie: The Sandlot

Favorite TV Show: Outer Banks

Favorite Book: Don’t have one but I like a good love story

Favorite Travel Spot: Mexico

Favorite Quote: “Don’t let the praise go to your head and don’t let the criticism go to your heart.”


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Published by Elizabeth Perez, Legacy & Legends Softball, August 10, 2023

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