GREENSBURG – Liz Pavy was 13 when her father died.
It happens to be an age when softball players typically must make the decision whether they want to stay committed to the sport in order to play at the next level.
Pavy put her heart and soul into softball, practicing on her own, doing college-level workouts, while playing travel softball all summer.
Her mother recalls setting up nets in their house so Liz could hit whiffle balls.
“She was very dedicated,” Missy Pavy said.
“I could go on and on about her determination, her perseverance – everything about her. She amazes me. She makes me want to be a better person, and I’m older than her.”
Talk to anyone who has coached Lizy Pavy and you’ll undoubtedly hear them use words like “dedication,” “perseverance” and “great attitude” to describe her.
Brian Tackett has coached Pavy the past few years with the travel team Indy Dreams.
“She is the fiercest competitor that I have coached in girls softball,” Tackett said. “She has that refuse-to-fail attitude. On top of it, she’s very talented. She’s either the fastest or second-fastest girl on our team. She can lay down bunts for the quick game, or she can hit home runs.”
Pavy is a senior at Greensburg High School. Pirates coach Wade Hersley said Pavy always gives maximum effort.
“Liz Pavy is one of the hardest-working, most-driven athletes I have coached,” Hersley said. “I feel lucky to have been able to coach her.”
Pavy is headed to Danville Area Community College (DACC), signing with the Illinois junior college near the end of December.
DACC coach Matt Cervantes hasn’t coached Pavy yet, but knows enough about her to echo the sentiments from Tackett and Hersley.
“She has a mindset that puts her above everyone she plays against, and that is one thing we expect when she gets here,” Cervantes said.
“She embraces every challenge that comes her way and we cannot be more thrilled to have her in our program for the next two years.”
Where does Pavy get her motivation and tremendous determination?
“I try to think of my brother for my motivation, because he really pushes me,” she said. “He’s been my main motivation throughout the years because he wants what’s best for me.”
Vincent Pavy is nearly two years older than his sister. Typically, brothers and sisters don’t always get along the greatest. But that’s not the case with these two.
“They definitely have a bond that is not like a typical brother and sister,” Missy Pavy said. “They’ve always been each other’s biggest fans since they were born. I’ve never had any issues. Usually, you have brothers and sisters that bicker back and forth. These two have been really good. They’ve been each other’s best friends.”
Vincent Pavy is in the Army. He’s based in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where he’s finishing advanced individual training.
He made a visit home recently and was able to attend his sister’s signing ceremony at DAAC.
He’s the reason why Liz Pavy is wrestling this winter. He wrestled when he was in junior high and high school.
“He really wanted me to do it, wanted me to try something new,” Pavy said. “It’s keeping me in shape for softball. This is probably the best shape I’ve ever been in.”
Pavy does much more than play softball for Pirates. Since entering high school, she’s earned all-conference honors four times in cross-country; competed in track for two years; played basketball for two years; and is now wrestling for the first time.
“It’s new,” Pavy said about wrestling, “but it’s really fun. I like it.”
Path to college
Coping with her father’s death is obviously a life event that could’ve led Pavy in a different direction. She takes pride in staying strong.
“The stuff I’ve been through in my past, with my dad passing and everything, I feel like most kids would’ve just given up,” Pavy said. “But I feel like I’ve held myself together a lot more. Being where I’m at, I’m really proud of myself about it.”
Another obstacle she’s had to overcome is with her collegiate recruiting process.
Pavy received an offer from Glenville State College in West Virginia, and she committed to the Division II program.
Then Covid hit in March, and the college got a new coach.
After enduring months with an uncertain future, and then finding out she wouldn’t be promised a spot on the roster, Pavy decided to pursue other options.
The family turned to Tackett for assistance. He asked if Pavy was interested in pursuing the junior college route. After she said yes, Tackett called Cervantes, who came to watch her play and really liked what he saw.
Indiana University was always the dream school Pavy wanted to play for growing up. Going the JUCO route gives her the opportunity to possibly play for the Hoosiers in the future, or another DI school.
Tackett has no doubts she has the tool set to play DI.
“She’s the all-around kid that everybody wants to coach,” he said. “Fierce competitor, good attitude, there’s never any drama; it’s straight from the heart with her, no BS. If you could have 10 or 11 like that kid on one team, it would be just absolute joy.”
Pavy is a utility player who says she can play about any position. She plays second the most, then shortstop.
Middle infield is where Cervantes sees her playing for DAAC.
Pavy hit .380 as a sophomore for the Pirates, with six doubles, five triples and three home runs.
“She is a perfect role model for any young athlete to look up to,” Hersley said. “She will make any team she plays for better because of her work ethic, great attitude and teamwork.
“She has very bright future.”
Life outside of softball
When Pavy isn’t busy playing sports, she enjoys hanging out with friends, listening to 90s hip-hop or today’s country music, and painting.
A member of the National Honor Society, Pavy wants to pursue a degree in physical therapy. She’s interested in that path for a couple reasons.
Pavy knows what it’s like to work with a physical therapist, after hyperextending her elbow, and she’s fascinated by the human body. Because she loves sports, physical therapy would be another way to stay involved with athletics.
Pavy thanked her teammates, friends and family for their support.
“I want to thank my mom and brother for getting me where I’m at today,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here without my mom dragging me everywhere, and my brother just pushing me through everything.”