From All-Star softball to Archer’s varsity team, Malia Apor leaves a mark

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Photo credit: Zoe Gazzuolo

Junior Malia Apor holds up her softball bat on Archer’s softball field. Apor said she developed a love for the game when she first started playing more than 10 years ago. “[Softball] is a rock for me,” Apor said. “It’s something I really enjoy, and it brings me a lot of happiness.”

By Zoe Gazzuolo, Staff Reporter

Eight years ago, junior Malia Apor was playing in a softball tournament with her all-star softball team when she stepped up to bat. Despite being on the bottom of the lineup, she hit a triple that led her team to victory, which moved them up to the next division.

“That’s when I knew that I wanted to continue playing softball,” Apor said. “Everything was worth it.”

Apor started playing softball when she was 6 years old with the Palos Verdes Girls Softball League and has been on the Archer varsity team since her freshman year. Apor plays every day during the off-season, practicing fielding, batting and strength training during weekdays and competing with her SoCal Athletics travel ball team every weekend. Apor said one of her favorite parts about softball is supporting and mentoring younger players.

“We’ll practice with the middle schoolers just to teach them how to play, and see[ing] them get a good hit or see[ing] them field a ball or win their game, and see[ing] how happy they are reminds me of why I love softball so much,” Apor said. “It can be easy to get caught up in the little things.”

Last year, sophomore Rachel Chung played on Archer’s varsity softball team with Apor for the first time. Chung said Apor is a great team player and admires Apor’s willingness to get to know her teammates in different grades regardless of skill level. 

“No matter who you are, what level softball you’re at, she always accepts everyone for who they are, helps them get better and just supports them as much as she can,” Chung said. “I’ve learned to be a better team player from Malia. She’s been a good role model to look up to.”

Athletic Director Kim Smith, who has had the chance to work with Apor for the past two years through both the softball program and the Athlete Leadership Council, said Apor’s actions are contagious and have a ripple effect on those around her. 

“She’s not only committed to her own sort of development as an athlete, but she’s very interested in passing what she knows onto those that are younger than her and … helping them to develop as players,” Smith said. “She’s always looking to see where she can be of service to the school and to her sport.”

Chung said she was nervous when first starting the softball season, but the feeling faded as the older players on the team helped her realize that the scores of the games are not everything, and that everyone is there to have fun. 

“There was never a moment where she was only playing for herself,” Chung said. “She was always playing for our team.”

Both Chung and Smith agree that Apor has made a notable impact on the Archer softball team both on and off the field, especially for newer, emerging players.

“There’s always another play. There’s always another ball. There’s always another hit. There’s always another game,” Apor said. “So never take softball too seriously because you’ll learn to love it.”