To see Imanee Ryan throw a softball across the diamond, you might not believe that just three years ago, she’d never played the sport before.

“She was raw,” said Richard Sanders, Grant High School softball coach.

Watch report: Grant HS softball player honored for sportsmanship, performance

Imanee said she tried out for Grant High School’s softball team two years ago.

“She couldn’t even throw the ball,” said Imanee’s mom, Bisa Peoples. 

In just two years, Imanee has progressed so quickly that she earned a spot on the varsity team while also maintaining a high standard in her schoolwork.

Imanee’s hard work and passion to learn and get better are reasons why the Positive Coaching Alliance will be honoring her with a scholarship during the organization’s fundraising event Monday at Raley Field.

“This award highlights local high schoolers who have demonstrated excellence on and off the field in three areas we care about — making yourself better, making your team better and making your sport better,” said Zach Streight, executive director of the Positive Coaching Alliance-Sacramento.

Imanee, her mom, her coach and the Positive Coaching Alliance all stressed that Imanee’s success is further evidence that parents don’t need to push their children into a single sport at an early age in order to achieve success.

“It needs to be about having fun playing sports,” Streight said.

“If you’re doing it because your parent is making you do it, then it’s not fun,” People said. “It’s a chore.”

Imanee agrees with her mom.

“As long as the kid is having fun and wants to improve, you don’t have to start when you’re a kid,” Imanee said.

Just watching her daughter throw the softball is proof of that, concluded People.