By: Payton Crowley
Xiomara Santiago, age 17, will be attending Memphis University, a Division 1 school, on a full ride to play for the Tigers softball team. She had offers from many different schools, including Indiana, Purdue, Ball State and North Carolina, but she decided to choose Memphis because when she was on a recruiting trip she just knew it was the right place for her. Santiago said, “I was in love with the campus and the city. I cried in the elevator when I got the offer.” In the weeks following her trip she and her parents talked it over and decided that Memphis was the place for her to take her talents next fall.
The Memphis Tigers’ girls softball team is a relatively new program.The school has only had the program for four years. “We only need a few more key players,” Santiago says, and she hopes to be one of those key players in the 2016-17 school year and beyond. The team currently has a three-four record in their conference.
In Santiago’s first year as a Tiger she says she hopes to “Take Memphis to the next level.” She also hopes in her four years playing for the team that she will break records and get a hitting record of 15 home runs her freshman year. Off the diamond, she hopes to get good grades and work very hard.
Santiago has been playing softball for nine years and is not only a member of the Lady Bears softball team but is also a player on a travel team. She became interested in baseball at the age of six. She and her dad were watching an Indians game on TV one day when Santiago turned to her father and said “Dad, I want to learn how to do that.” Her father rolled his eyes and seemed to push it aside as a childish dream, but around Christmas when Santiago was still bugging him about learning how to play baseball he decided to believe that she really wanted to join a team. He bought her a glove, bat, and ball for Christmas and the following spring signed her up for her first softball team. Santiago said, “It was terrible, it was just awful. I had a terrible time. I was chubby and bad.” But even after that horrendous season she signed up the following spring and she said, “It just got a little better.” Then one day her father and she were playing catch, and he threw the ball and it hit her in the eye, giving her a black eye, and that’s when she strangely enough decided that she loved softball. Ever since that Santiago’s been hooked.
When Santiago is not busy showing off her talents on the field, you will find her head in a journalism book. Santiago is planning to study journalism with a concentration in public relations. She also wants to get her graduate degree at Memphis. She is going to study communications with a minor in business, or, she said (jokingly), “Maybe I’ll just minor in basket weaving.”
After college Santiago is hoping to play for the United States National softball team or play for the Puerto Rican team. Also she thought she may want to play for a softball team in Japan for a year. Playing in Japan is a common practice for American softball players because they have national teams for women’s softball which America does not have. Santiago is very excited about her future as a Tiger and said, “Everything turned out just peachy!”