The passion. The dedication. The relentless work ethic.
It all looked very familiar to Amanda Lorenz.
Two years ago, Lorenz gave hitting lessons to a young player named Maya Brady when they both lived in Moorpark and played for the Orange County Batbusters.
With each swing, Lorenz could see the makings of the county’s next softball star.
“She is just a natural-born hitter and a great athlete,” said Lorenz, a freshman at the University of Florida. “She has such a fire about her, and I love how she’s just a genuine teammate. She is nowhere near her full potential yet and that’s what is so great about her.”
Brady has burst onto the local high school scene this season as a freshman at Oaks Christian School.
The left-handed leadoff hitter and slick-fielding shortstop helped the Lions (27-1-1) capture the Marmonte League title and nearly go undefeated through the regular season.
Brady has the bloodlines for athletic success.
Her uncle is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and her mother Maureen was an All-American pitcher at Fresno State University.
“Given the athletes in the family, it’s definitely hard to make your mark. It’s hard to pass up someone who wins the Super Bowl,” said Maya Brady, who has already verbally committed to UCLA. “But hopefully in the future I can make my own mark and say look what I did in my career.”
She is off to a solid start.
Brady is batting .391 with 36 hits, 30 runs scored, 12 RBIs and seven doubles for Oaks Christian. She is 13 for 13 on stolen-base attempts and has a .931 fielding percentage.
“It has been a great experience for my freshman year. It’s been really great to be on this team, especially playing with such great players,” Brady said. “Everyone has really welcomed me with open arms and made sure I was comfortable.”
Originally from San Mateo in the Bay Area, Brady moved to Bakersfield seven years ago with her mother and younger sister, Hannah.
“It crushed her little heart when we moved back to Bakersfield for my job because it was her dream to go to Oaks Christian. Every time we drove by, her eyes just lit up,” Maureen Brady said. “But once my contract ended, we came back here and she absolutely loves the school and playing on the team. She is so happy there.”
Maya has dabbled in multiple sports. She’s played soccer, volleyball, golf, gymnastics and run track. But being on the diamond is where she feels most at home.
“I just really found a passion for softball and it was something I was always excited to do,” Maya said. “I always looked forward to going to practice after school and playing games with my teams. I really can’t get enough.”
Maureen understands her daughter’s zeal.
She pitched at Fresno State from 1991-1995 when the program was a powerhouse under Hall of Fame coach Margie Wright.
Maureen set multiple program records, led the nation in victories in 1994 and helped the Bulldogs reach the Women’s College World Series twice.
Maya used to practice with her mother until one ball went astray.
“She pitched to me when I was younger. But when we were hitting in backyard a couple of years ago, I told her I was going to drive the ball or soft slap a ground ball and it ended up hitting her in the stomach,” Maya said. “That was the last time she pitched to me.”
But Maureen still faithfully attends every game — often updating patient charts on her computer in the stands between innings — and drives Maya to every practice.
On Monday nights after Oaks Christian’s practice, the family drives to Orange County for fielding and hitting drills and doesn’t return home until midnight.
“It just the three of us girls. It’s crazy right?” Maureen said. “But Maya works so hard and just loves it so much. If you have a kid who really loves something and it’s healthy, I think that as parents you do whatever you need to do to help them. It’s such a positive thing.”
Maureen received the same support from her own parents, Tom Brady Sr. and Galynn.
They raised four athletes — Maureen, Julie, Nancy and the youngest, Tom.
Maureen had a 111-10 career record with 29 no-hitters, 14 perfect games and two section titles at Hillsdale High in San Mateo before starring at Fresno State.
Julie played soccer at St. Mary’s in Moraga, Nancy played softball for a short time at UC Berkeley and Tom went from a sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan to a four-time Super Bowl champion.
Growing up, Tom largely lived in his sister’s shadows.
“They were the best athletes in my house — certainly a better athlete than I ever was,” Tom told thepostgame.com in 2012. “I just loved tagging along and living and dying with every loss they had.”
Having witnessed his sisters’ careers and played against them at the local park near their childhood home, Tom developed a respect for women’s sports that sustains.
“He is totally into it. He loves any chance he gets to see Maya play,” Maureen said. “Unfortunately, with the distance and everything he has going on with football and his own family, it’s not very often. But he follows what she is doing as much as he can.”
During a recent event for the DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation in New York, former Olympian Jessica Mendoza spoke with Tom Brady after they appeared on a panel together.
“I was very impressed with how much he knew about softball. He is a huge fan,” said Mendoza, a Camarillo High graduate and Moorpark resident. “He was telling me all about his three sisters and his niece. He even knows all the club teams.”
Maya has attended every Super Bowl her uncle has played in, and listens to any piece of advice he has to offer.
“He doesn’t really talk to me specifically about softball, but he always tells me to work hard and gives me some motivation,” Maya said. “He just says to try your hardest and supports me a lot.”
Read the full story at the Ventura County Star.