The faces behind the mask

Published 7:51 pm Friday, May 4, 2018

George Rogers Clark softball has one of the most diverse rosters compared to other teams on the schedule.

Claire Brandenburg, Emily Taulbee and Whitney Walker are the only three seniors.

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The Cardinals have six eighth graders that make up the roster which includes Simone Campbell, Paige Caudill, Gracie Clements, Ashley Martin, Marly Rogers and Emily Schooler and even some of those have entered the starting line up.

Rogers has started a majority of the season as the catcher and Caudill even made her way into the catching position halfway through the season due to sickness.

Head coach Daniel Rogers said that both kids are tough players.

“They both are really solid,” he said. “They both are learning and are willing to grow. They’re only going to get better as they get older and they’re only in eighth grade.”

Caudill and Rogers both explain what it’s like to live the life of an eighth grader playing varsity.

Caudill said her nerves got the best of her when she found out she was getting her first start.

“At first it was a lot of pressure at first,” she said. “I was really nervous, but it felt really good because I worked really hard to be in that position.”

Since the team only has a sparce amount of upperclassmen, Rogers and Caudill both are grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow from the older players.

“It’s a really big opportunity because I really didn’t think I would get to this point as an eighth grader,” Caudill said. “I’m not going to take it for granted because they help me a lot.”

“They help me after practice if I need it and our other catcher always encourages me,” Rogers said. “They all have helped me grow into the player and person that I am.”

Rogers said that she takes pride in her accomplishments so far.

“It’s a really proud moment to play varsity,” she said. “I’ve worked hard to get to where I am.”

Caudill said that playing catcher is the same comparison to playing point guard in basketball.

“You always have to be moving,” she said. “You have to make sure everybody is moving and doing what they are supposed to do. You can see the whole field so you have to tell everyone what to do.”

“You have to be more aware of what is going on,” Rogers said. “You have to know everything. You have to know where you are going and what the call is.”

Caudill said her dad who is also an assistant coach has been one of her biggest influences.

“My dad has always motivated me to keep going and give everything the best I got.”

Rogers gave credit to her mom.

“My mom has always been my inspiration,” she said. “She was really good when she used to play so I want to be just as great.”

Caudill said that there is nothing about playing softball that she doesn’t like.

“I love everything about it,” she said. “I like playing with my teammates and being on the field.”

Rogers hopes that she can take her game to the next level as her career progresses.

“I want to be able to go somewhere with it,” she said. “I want to be able to get a good education and get into college.

Rogers and Caudill both agree on how difficult it has been balancing their schoolwork with their softball schedule.

“It’s been very stressful,” Rogers said. “Every night I go and do homework and it gets really stressful trying to keep up with everything.

Rogers has her eyes set on one particular goal as she continues her high school career.

“I want to get more home runs,” she said. “I’ve got one already, but I definitely need a few more.”

“I want to get better at hitting and become a better hitter,” Caudill said. “I have plenty of room to improve on other things but that’s the first that comes to mind.”

GRC is scheduled to play at Somerset at 10 a.m. and Madison Southern at noon on Saturday. The Cards will return to Cardinal Heights on Monday, May 8 as they face Rowan County at 6 p.m.