When Arizona softball hosts Team Mexico on Saturday, it will mark the first time UA catcher Sharlize Palacios has ever played with, or against, her older sister Sashel.
In an official setting, anyway.
“If you count backyard baseball, we have and I’ve killed her, don’t let her say any different. But, no, in a real game I’ve never played her,” Sharlize said.
She’s excited she finally gets that opportunity.
“I’ve been dreaming of this moment,” Sharlize said. ‘“I always make fun of my parents. I’m like, ‘you guys didn’t plan it right, we’re not close enough to play with each other.’ But now God finally gave us the chance that we could play against each other and I’m just so excited to see on the field and be just that close and share that moment with her.”
Sharlize is hoping to be catching while Sashel is batting and vice versa. She loves watching her sister play but has never been that close to the action before. Before the game, Sharlize hopes to give her a sister a big hug. Their family will be watching from the stands.
“She’s been my idol since I’ve been younger so...I know I’m already gonna get emotional when I see her there,” Sharlize said. “But yeah, she’s an awesome player. She’s just a grinder and I just can’t wait to be just that close to her on the field.”
Sashel played collegiately at Arizona State from 2014 to 2017. She peaked as a senior when she hit .322 with 10 homers and 42 RBI. She has since played professionally in National Pro Fastpitch and Athletes Unlimited along with representing Team Mexico.
All the while, she has been a big supporter of Sharlize, tuning into her games while on the road and attending them at Hillenbrand Stadium when she can. Sashel once showed up to Rita in a custom-made Sharlize Palacios shirt.
“She’s an amazing person off the field, but on the field, she’s an awesome catcher, the best I know other than Dejah (Mulipola),” Sharlize said. “I mean, I have two best friend catchers that are probably the best catchers I’ve ever met and she’s just a great hitter and an even better person. I mean, I’m lucky to say that I have her as a sister.”
Sharlize comes from a family of catchers. Not just Sashel but her father Kiko too. He was drafted by Cleveland Indians in 1992. Sharlize basically had no choice but to play that position too—and she loves it even though she’s suffered a multitude of injuries.
“I just kind of got thrown in there and I have the best mentors to help me be the best catcher,” Sharlize said.
Sharlize is enjoying a breakout redshirt freshman season so far, hitting .358 with eight homers and 16 RBI while splitting time between designated player and catcher. She and Mulipola have help kept each other fresh and both are having career seasons as a result.
And while Sharlize’s numbers are on track to be better than her sister’s ever were, she still thinks Sashel is the better player.
“Just because I’ve grown up watching her and I think she’s so much better than me,” Sharlize said. “But hopefully one day when I get to her age, I’ll be better than her.”
.@sharpalacios will play against her sister Sashel for the first time ever when Arizona hosts Team Mexico on Saturday.— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) April 10, 2021
She's SUPER excited about it.
"I've been dreaming of this moment. ... She's been my idol since I've been younger so...I already know I'm gonna get emotional." pic.twitter.com/h2BxhbgJUe