by Andrew Garda

Montclair Kimberley Academy shortstop Amanda Mack might be a freshman, but she hasn’t looked like it on the field, where she scoops up ground balls, or at the plate, where she’s batting .481 with four home runs and 11 RBIs.

It might look easy, but for Mack this is a full-time effort.

“I play on a club team, New Jersey Pride,” she said after a recent game. “The constant practice I have there and I’ve had here [help], I’m just making sure I’m ready for the game and give it my all in practice.”

While Mack had played third base and catcher with her club team, MKA coach Jessica Sarfati moved her to shortstop, though you wouldn’t know it was a new position by watching her play.

“I hadn’t played short before. I just know I am playing defense, and I have to field all the balls and backup my teammates. There’s a little more space [to cover] but it’s not that different.”

Mack took a little time to talk to us after the Cougars’ recent game against East Side.


What do you do when not playing softball? For fun, I hang out with my friends a lot. MKA is a great school and has a lot of activities.

Did you know people before you came here? I grew up in Roseland, and knew some people at West Essex who played in West Essex. And then MKA welcomed me with open arms.

What’s your favorite subject? Biology. I really connected with the teacher this year and he’s made the subject really enjoyable.

What TV shows do you watch? “13 Reasons Why” and “Grey’s Anatomy”

Do you have a favorite book? “Lord of the Flies.” It’s very interesting thinking about what happens when adults aren’t there.

What do you do before a game? I put my earbuds on to zone into the game. I listen to Drake’s new album, but it’s really about making sure I’m ready.

Who inspires you? My parents inspire me to do my best and honestly, take risks, because that’s the only way to succeed.

Which three people would you invite to dinner? Martin Luther King Jr., Drake and Kevin Durant.