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Mallory Shaw is seen with her Newark Academy coach Sergio Rodriguez as she graduates from the Livingston-based private school in 2018. Shaw, who was killed in tragic auto accident in Texas on March 21, was a standout pitcher for the Minutemen and also longtime star for the NJ Heist travel team. Two of her coaches at Newark Academy seen (in fourth photo) crossing the diamond in 2018 were Rodriguez and his assistant Marissa Marino-Stephenson (left). In bottom photo Mallory is seen with Rodriguez as 13-year-old on the rise. Heist players will have her No. 10 uniform number affixed to their helmets starting in 2023 summer season. (Photos by Gene Nann and also courtesy of NJ Heist)

Essex County Softball Mourning
Tragic Passing Of NA & Heist Star

By Steve Tober

Sergio Rodriguez remembers how comfortable he felt each time he wrote in Mallory Shaw’s name as the No. 3 hitter in the lineup, whether it was with the NJ Heist travel team or at Newark Academy where Shaw was a 4-year standout for the Minutemen from 2015-2018.

“Starting with Heist when she was 11 years old, and all through her four years at Newark Academy, Mallory hit third every game for us, and she was a consistent hitter and a heck of a pitcher,” said the NJ Heist president who is beginning his second season as the head coach at Hanover Park. “She was very unassuming, calm and collected, but a great competitor and being a team leader came naturally to her.

“I just can’t believe that she’s gone.”

Shaw, 22, who grew up in Roseland, attended Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, and more recently had been living with her family in Hampstead, N.C., was tragically killed while a passenger in a car on its way to an airport when it was struck in a head-on collision on a Texas highway at 6:30 a.m. this past Tuesday morning (March 21) while on her way to an airport.

“When I heard the news of Mallory’s passing it literally took my breath away,” said Marissa Marino-Stephenson, a longtime Newark Academy assistant softball coach and athletic department administrative assistant, who was on Rodriguez staff during Shaw’s scholastic career. “Receiving a phone call with the news of someone’s passing is a dreaded call and receiving this news from Sergio on Wednesday broke my heart.

“Being taken away so young and with so much to look forward to is unfair. I will never understand why lives are taken away from people who still have so much to live for. 

“I can’t imagine the pain and loss the Shaw family is experiencing.   I hope that with time, their deep wound of her loss will heal and they find peace in the memories and knowledge of the impact Mallory has made on so many in her short lifetime.”

According to Kcen TV in Texas, police were dispatched at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 21, on reports of a car crash on Farm-to-Market Road 485,which is 4.3 miles east of the town of Yarrleton.

The Kcen-TV report read in part, “Officials said a 2016 Chevrolet 2500 pickup towing a trailer, operated by a 30-year-old male from Houston, Texas, had been traveling westbound on FM 485.

Officials said a 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage passenger car, operated by a 22-year-old male from Sahuarita, AZ, had been traveling eastbound on FM 485.
Texas DPS said the driver of the Chevrolet attempted to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone on a hill crest.

Officials said the Chevrolet collided head-on with the Mitsubishi. A front seat passenger of the Mitsubishi, identified as 22-year-old Mallory Regina Shaw of Hampstead, NC was pronounced dead on the scene by Justice of the Peace Greg Hoelscher, Texas DPS said.”

For Rodriguez, who has been coaching softball players in New Jersey for the past three decades, the news of Mallory’s sudden passing was devastating.

“It was just horrible news and is difficult to talk about even now,” said the NJ Heist coach and organization head man. “I just couldn’t believe that the life of such a beautiful kid had been taken from us.

“Beyond her sports achievements, and she was a top 10 hitter in Essex County during her time at Newark Academy - plus a very reliable pitcher - is the fact that she was a bright and personable young lady with such a great future to look forward to.”

Mallory helped lead Newark Academy to its second-ever appearance in an Essex County Tournament semifinal in 2018 following a 7-5 quarterfinal victory over West Essex in a game where she had a key RBI single.

That 2018 Minutemen squad also advanced to the NJSIAA Non-Public, North B state sectional final before falling to one of coach Jeff Horohonich’s outstanding Lodi Immaculate teams.

Newark Academy also reached the Non-Public, North B final Mallory’s sophomore season in 2016.

She came from a close-knit family that includes two sisters, Kim and Jenny, who played softball at West Essex.

(Assistant) Coach Jay (Ahmed) and myself offer our sincere condolences to Jenny, Kimmy, and the entire Shaw family,” said Andrea Mondodori, the veteran West Essex head coach. “Mallory was an incredible athlete and softball player and she will be remembered for her positive contributions both on and off the field.

“Her family is in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.” 

Following her success as a youth softball player with NJ Heist, there was obviously great potential there as Mallory prepared to proceed to the high school level.

“There was such excitement and anticipation surrounding Mallory being accepted to Newark Academy,” recalled Marino-Stephenson. “Being a 2-sport athlete, she was expected to be a major addition to the girls’ soccer and softball team, and she most certainly was!

“I worked with Mallory on her pitching and called every pitch she ever threw during her career at Newark Academy. She understood her importance on the team and the role she stepped into from day 1 as a freshman. She competed every time she stepped on the mound striking out many with her quick fastball and deceptive change-up.

“One thing I especially loved calling were back-to-back change-ups with her. She had great command of that pitch which allowed me to call it twice in a row in several instances and resulting in many strikeouts.

“Being an impact player on a high-level club team, she had a lot of pressure on her to pitch well for Newark Academy and she took the pressure in stride and did so with her quiet and modest demeanor.

“Mallory helped Newark Academy win the (Super Essex Conference) Liberty Division title in 2016 (with an 11-1 in-conference record) and the prep B tournament championship in 2017 (with an 11-1 win over Morristown-Beard).

“She received multiple all-conference and all-prep B post-season awards in softball and soccer.

“Mallory was always very poised on the mound and at the plate. Her talent was clearly evident whenever she stepped on the field.”

And, as strong as she was as an ace in the circle for Newark Academy, she was always proved to be the pulse and heart of the batting order in that No. 3 slot Rodriguez always penciled her in at.

“Mallory was consistent at the plate in terms of hitting the ball hard,” said Marino-Stephenson. “She hit some of the quickest balls I have ever seen off the bat

“You always felt confident with her at the plate and her ability to get a hit or drive runs in, racking up many RBI’s and hits throughout her 4-year career. She was the player you wanted up in tough-game situations. 

“Mallory never seemed phased during an at bat- no matter how hard the opposing pitcher was throwing or how much movement on the ball that pitcher had. She always kept a straight face at the plate and on the mound which kept the opposing team on their toes.

“Mallory was always comfortable as a hitter and batting No. 3 for the Minutemen.”

As a top student and as a terrific soccer and softball player, Mallory definitely made an impact to those at Newark Academy who are all trying to wrap their thoughts around such a horrible auto accident that has robbed the life of such a talented young lady.

“What a terrible tragedy,” said Liz Bona, the Minutemen’s head girls basketball coach who is also serves as an assistant athletic director at Newark Academy. “

I remember Mallory as a hard-working kid who always wanted her team to be the best and succeed.”

And as the NJ Heist look forward to their upcoming 2023 summer season, the softball travel organization will definitely make sure to remember Mallory and the No. 8 she wore for the team.

“We will have her No. 8 affixed to all helmets for our Heist players,” said Rodriguez. “And, you can rest assured that we will  always remember her and we will take time to honor her memory.”

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister              

Mallory Shaw, who donned No. 10 at Newark Academy from 2015-2018 will not be forgotten by many from Essex County and in the NA softball community including Minutemen coaches during her days at NA, Marissa Marino-Stephenson and Sergio Rodriguez. (Photos are by Gene Nann)

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