ALL-AREA: Rushing named Player of the Year
Grace Rushing had a sophomore season to remember for the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots. The young sophomore backed up a strong freshman season with an even better sophomore season.
Rushing help lead the Patriots back to Lagoon Park in Montgomery during the 2019 season. Rushing and the Patriots finished the season fourth in the state in AISA.
“This year has meant the most to me of any year,” Rushing said. “I have played with the greatest team and we have come so far together. We have played so well this year and even though we finished fourth in state we worked harder and better as a team. It was really a great year.”
Rushing added 56 points to her batting average .103 to her on base percentage in her sophomore season.
Rushing led her team in batting average and was second on her team with 42 RBI, a year after knocking in 33 as a freshman.
Rushing was a durable threat for the Patriots during the 2019 season. The sophomore played in 46 of the team’s 47 games.
“I just went up there and had fun,” Rushing said. “There wasn’t really a secret for me. It was not overthinking it and doing what is natural. If I went up there thinking about it, I knew I wasn’t going to do well. I just have to be calm and let what I learned show for itself.”
Rushing had hits in 31 of her 46 games on the season. She had a season-long hit streak of nine games from March 16 until March 30.
During the Patriots’ four-game run in the postseason, Rushing accumulated seven hits in 13 plate appearances.
Rushing is part of a youth movement at Pike Liberal Arts. Rushing has played with many of her teammates since she was four years old and she cherishes each one of the relationships with her teammates.
“Most of the girls on the team I have played with since I was four,” Rushing said. “We are not only teammates, but we get along. We have our ups and downs, but we have such a great time together. Practice is so much fun and I look forward to it every day.”
Not only did Rushing improve at the plate, she also improved her defense at first base. She committed just one error at first base and had a fielding percentage of .985. Rushing takes pride in playing a position that sees more action than most every other position.
“Defense, to me, is just as important as hitting,” Rushing said. “Yes, you have to hit the score runs, but you also have to play defense to prevent the other team from scoring runs. It all carries into itself, so I think the defense is huge. First base is not a really credited position, but it’s a big deal.”
Rushing has two more years with the Patriots and beginning this summer, Rushing hopes to continue to work hard.
“I want to continue to get better,” Rushing said. “Work on my hitting a little bit more and work on my defense. I play for a travel ball team in Troy and that keeps me in shape. I plan to get better, have fun and work hard at what I’m doing.”
Rushing’s head coach Robert Rollan will once again share in the excitement. Rollan is the coach of the year for the second consecutive season after leading the Patriots to another state tournament in Montgomery. Rollan led the Patriots to a fourth place finish and finished with a 29-18 record.
P: Dannah Dawson
P: Ally Rushing
P: Sydni Garrett
INF: Morgan Bundy
INF: Hannah Calhoun
INF: Amber Kidd
INF: Grace Rushing
OF: Kate Warrick
OF: Alexis McLendon
OF: Heather Maxwell
DH: Emma Kirkpatrcick
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