Shelby LaMont’s always been a fan of defying people’s expectations of her.
“I grew up with people doubting me,” LaMont said, “because of my size and how small I am. Proving people wrong is always great to do.”
While she doesn’t cut the most imposing figure, she’s proven to be a dynamo on the softball diamond. The rising senior at Amsterdam High School was a driving force behind the Lady Rams’ underdog run to the program’s first Section II championship game appearance in nearly 40 years, both with her fearsome hitting in the middle of the lineup and her stellar defense behind home plate at catcher.
She’s a complete package as a player, Amsterdam coach Brenden Cetnar said, and has been since he brought LaMont up to the varsity squad as an eighth-grader.
That’s why Cetnar wasn’t surprised that LaMont will become his first Amsterdam player to move on to the Division I level in college, as earlier this week LaMont verbally committed to attend Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
“She’s been up with us since eighth grade, and you knew she was a monster at the plate,” Cetnar said. “I’m not surprised. I’m super happy for her, but I’m not surprised that she got into a good [Division I] school.”
LaMont is coming off a high school season filled with ludicrous offensive numbers.
As a junior, she mashed the ball from the left side of the plate, finishing the season with a .532 batting average, a .639 on-base percentage, nine home runs, nine doubles, 30 runs batted in and 27 runs scored. LaMont either scored or drove in almost 40% of the runs Amsterdam scored this spring, and her three-run home run in the Section II Class A semifinals against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake proved to be the decisive blow that sent the Lady Rams to an area championship game for the first time since 1982.
“She was a huge, huge part of that offense,” Cetnar said. “We don’t get to the finals without Shelby’s home run. She was involved in almost half of our runs this year — either hitting them in or scoring them.”
And when big moments came up, LaMont was usually there to deliver.
“ ‘Clutch’ isn’t a stat you can put down,” Cetnar said, “but when you need a run, you hope she’s the one coming up. She wants to be there in the big moment.”
Since the end of the scholastic season in mid-June, LaMont hasn’t slowed down one bit.
To be honest, things have probably been even crazier for the rising senior, who plays her travel ball for the Empire State Huskies’ 16-and-under national team, which is based out of East Fishkill.
“It takes me about two-and-a-half hours to get to practice,” LaMont said. “I don’t mind it. I love staying busy. To always be on the move and doing the thing you love, I’m totally happy with how busy my summers are.”
Besides the long drives down to the Hudson Valley for practice, LaMont has been traveling far and wide this summer — Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, New Jersey and Colorado are among her many stops — and caught the eye of the Saint Joseph’s coaching staff.
Having always wanted to attend college in a city, Saint Joseph’s Philadelphia campus proved immensely appealing to LaMont, making her decision to commit to the Hawks a no-brainer.
“I wasn’t really looking into [Saint Joseph’s] until my coach said, ‘They’re looking into you, they like you,’ ” LaMont said. “I went on a few visits, they offered me and I fell in love with the school. It felt like home.”
“I had a few Division II offers,” she added, “and I was very grateful, of course, but I always had the dream of going D-1. It’s really a dream come true.”