TURLOCK, Calif. – Addie Mettler’s rise to one of the top high school softball players in the country is something that seemed improbable early on in her life.
At 2 years old, she walked into a sterile office and stole the hearts of two people who would not only adopt her but help her discover her passion.
“One cannot describe the feeling of seeing a child walk into a room and knowing immediately God destined her to be part of our family,” Addie’s father, Greg, told Extra Inning Softball in 2021. “For us, it could only be described as your heart being a puzzle and the final piece was just put in place.
“Addie did not have the easiest life up to that point. She was removed from her biological family’s care due to neglect and for her safety. When most kids would be growing up surrounded by love and security, Addie was placed into the foster care system, a system that is staffed by some incredible social workers with a near-impossible job.”
Soon after joining the Mettler family, it didn’t take long for Addie to become immersed in softball. Greg played football at Sonoma State while Addie’s mother, April, played softball at Santa Rosa Junior College. But more important than that, Addie’s sister and Greg and April’s oldest daughter, Alexis, grew up to be a four-time all-conference honoree and all-state selection as a senior before going on to play softball for the University of Virginia.
Growing up watching the success of Alexis on the softball diamond, Addie wanted to be just like her big sister.
“My sister playing college softball kind of helped me see that that’s what I wanted to do with my life because I wanted to be just like her,” Addie said. “I used to be a swimmer, used to play basketball and other sports, but I really settled down on softball once I saw how successful she was with it.”
The Pitman senior has found softball success of her own since beginning her high school career. Spending each of her first three high school seasons on the varsity level, Addie batted .591 with 68 hits, 60 RBIs and 25 walks across 40 games.
As a sophomore in 2021, she helped the Pride win a Central California Athletic League title and shattered multiple single-season school records in the process, including the batting record (.727), home run crown (9) and most walks (17). With teams fearful of her big bat, Addie’s numbers took a bit of a hit as a junior last spring. She still racked up 30 hits, four home runs and 19 RBIs with a .492 batting average while being named an all-league, all-district and all-state performer for the second consecutive year.
“She’s the most feared hitter I’ve ever coached,” Pitman head softball coach Joe Lewis said. “Her best attributes are her leadership and ability to adapt to in-game situations along with her obvious talent. She always had the tools.
“Her most improved quality is probably her patience at the plate. She is continually walked and pitched around.”
A high IQ is something often associated with catchers and Addie is no different. She’s the nation’s top catcher in the Class of 2023, according to MaxPreps, and her knowledge behind the plate is part of what sets her apart.
“When I first started playing, I was just playing and the outcomes were most important to me but right now especially behind the plate, I feel like it’s the knowledge I can give to my teammates like where the batter is in the box or how their swing is to figure out which pitch I need to call,” Addie said.
The heightened softball IQ has not only helped Addie behind the plate but at it, too.
“I used to hit and make good contact but I was never seeing the ball and reading pitches out of the hand,” Addie said. “Just paying attention to pitchers’ grip and all that stuff, my hitting has definitely gotten better over the years.”
Addie’s improvement in all facets of her game caught the attention of one of the top college softball programs in the country: UCLA.
Kelly Inouye-Perez is in her 17th season as the Bruins’ head softball coach and had high praise for one of her top recruits.
“Addie is a solid quarterback behind the plate with a high softball IQ,” Inouye-Perez said on signing day. “We have been so impressed with her work ethic, becoming stronger and more confident at the plate. She has come through big time with her travel team in clutch moments. Her presence on the field is impressive.”
UCLA is currently the country’s No. 3-ranked softball team and made a seventh straight Women’s College World Series (WCWC) appearance in 2022, the longest active streak in the nation. Despite the recent history of on-field success, it’s what the Bruins stand for off the field that sold Addie on the program.
“When I was at UCLA, the vibe was a lot different; they made it seem like a family and we were with the entire team the whole time,” Addie said. “They call it the ‘Bruin Bubble’ where they’re going to be there for everybody and there are counselors there. I definitely have struggled with mental health over the years so just the fact that they pay attention so much to that is great.
— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) November 9, 2022
“Also, I’ve loved Lisa for so long and playing for Lisa Fernandez (UCLA associate head softball coach) has been my dream since I was younger.”
As Addie is on the verge of playing Division I baseball just like her big sister, it isn’t lost on the Pitman senior just how fortunate she is. It’s hard not to imagine how Addie’s life would’ve gone had Greg and April not adopted her.
But it’s easier to think about how her unique upbringing helped shape the young lady she is today.
“It (adoption) definitely made me have a realistic outlook on the world and the game,” Addie said. “It kind of made me open to everybody because I feel like being raised in a home that is both white and Black, it kind of helps you connect with everybody.
“I definitely don’t think I would’ve played softball or probably been in sports at all because where I was and the state I was in before I was adopted, it didn’t really pan out.”
Luckily for Addie and everyone around her, softball has found a way into the senior’s life. As much as she’s accomplished already, Lewis believes she’s only scratched the surface of what she can become.
“She has no limit to how good she can be,” Lewis said. “She gets stronger and smarter every season. I believe she will end up representing the US on Team USA softball. She’s that good.”