Highlighting spring seniors: Softball

Seniors: Ivy Rosenberry, pitcher/outfield; Afton Sykes, first base; Mackenzie McCarty, outfield

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Rosenberry has a future in the game. She’ll be pitching for Virginia Tech, a program that is now a contender each season in the ACC with strong potential to make the NCAA Tournament.

Rosenberry’s promising future doesn’t make the sting of the present feel any better.

“It’s been really tough realizing our senior season won’t happen,” said Rosenberry, the reigning Winchester Star Player of the Year. “This particular season we had eight freshmen come in and we took [five] on varsity. They were truly unbelievable and some of the best freshmen we could have asked for. I truly believe this was our year to go to states. We were hitting better than ever. In practices, we were turning double plays like it was three-quarters of the way through the season. It was just a connection I had never seen happen before in all my years of playing.”

Rosenberry also has a longstanding connection with her fellow seniors that now has ended.

“My first-ever Little League experience whenever I started playing softball, Afton, Mackenzie and I were on the same team,” she said. “We actually grew up playing together. We ended up playing four years of Little League and three years of travel ball together, so we were always around each other. Honestly, we’re a really good group of friends. I know that Afton has my back at first base and Mackenzie has my back in right field. There’s never a question whenever a ball gets hit that way. I was looking forward to get to play with them one last ride.”

Rosenberry, who went 16-6 with an 0.75 ERA in the circle and hit .500 with seven homers, has produced many memorable games, but the on-field memories that stick out always revert back to facing area rival Sherando.

“One of the best memories we definitely have is playing Sherando at home (an 8-2 win for the Northwestern District title in the regular-season finale last year). Everything always leads back to them,” she said. “It seems like the toughest game you play all conference. Rebecca Boone hits a grand slam. I remember looking at Afton telling her in the middle of the game, ‘We have this. It’s over.’”

She’ll miss a lot from off the diamond as well.

“Off the field, typically we do team bonding and different things like that throughout the season,” Rosenberry said. “Afton was always definitely the one where we rode around together. … Definitely at pre-game meals we were always at Chick-fil-A. Different times like that will always be missed before a game.”

Rosenberry will get to play again in Blacksburg, but she knows she’s leaving something special behind.

“The times with your friends are truly priceless,” she said. “It’s really sad now looking back how much we do take things for granted in life. I’ve really noticed that here lately, how I took a lot for granted. Now that it’s taken away, I realize how much I did have and how important my friends were to me and how important softball was to me.”

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$250 Annual Winner

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