By Jeremy McDonald
SCIO, Ore.– As the bell rang and the gym filled with friends, family and classmates, Scio’s Ashton Philips and Rheanna McDaniel were walking to their respective tables to sign their commitment letters Wednesday afternoon.
Phillips to Oregon State University, McDaniel to Oregon Insitiute of Technology.
Athletic Director and softball coach Jim Mask spoke first of both athlete’s before putting the spotlight squarely on them on why they comitted to their respective schools.
“It was pretty nerve-racking,” said McDaniel. “I mean I’ve done it before but it never gets easier.”
“It’s pretty awkward but I mean I don’t think they quiet understand like what the process is because they never did it, but again I know they’re going ot be happy for me,” said Phillips. “I know I could have been able to talk in front of them and know that I’m getting support back for what I chose to do with my career.”
Both Lady Loggers spoke to why they chose the route they did, academic routes as well as thanking family who have supported them throughout to this point, knowing that all the work they’ve put in through the years with travel ball and school ball.
“I can’t even describe it, I didn’t even know if I could name how many hours on the field and in the car traveling, it’s crazy,” describe McDaniel on the journey to this point. “It’s been crazy and I’ve been wanting to go to this school since I was a freshman, so it’s paid off.”
Phillips, who’s been verbally committed to Oregon State since a freshman and will be playing outfield, a position she plays with her travel ball team even though she plays shortstop with Scio, too put in all the work to get this point describes that nervous-excitment that comes with this day of Signing Day.
“It’s been a wait, but now that it’s over ir’s so reliving again. So many nerves coming out of me right now,” describes Phillips. “Nervous, excited I’m just shaking. I mean it’s pretty exciting knowing that I just signed my career away just with that piece of paper, I signed my career.”
With one more year left with the Lady Loggers Softball team, and with them taking pictures with everyone, they remember the good times so far in three years in the Black and Orange; but they do know they still have goals in front of them of reaching that elusive State Championship game in their final year.
“Favorite memory…I don’t know, maybe definitely the bus rides, going to away games they can get pretty rowdy,” said McDaniel.
“It’s going to be exciting, but I know it’s going to be sad if we don’t get where we want to be last year,” adds Phillips. “There’s a lot of good memories like, there’s so many but it probably would be this last season. We made a great run, we were…We beat Dayton the week before and we came into that game so confident, probably that moment when we came into that Semi-finals knowing that we had the chance to take it all and just having, knowing that we can do it.
“We had the ability to do it.”
There Head Coach, knows how special these two are within this great Senior class that has put Scio on the map on the diamond as he has one more year with them.
“It’s pretty amazing to be honored, I’ve said a lot of times I’ve coached a lot of years, Football, baseball, this is the hardest working group I’ve ever been around, these two especially, they work so hard,” said Mask. “The whole senior class are full with hard workers, I’m happy to see some of them to be able to move on. That’s just amazing and awesome.
“Rheanna, every day is the one that kind of keeps everything light and literally just funny, she is just funny all the time and a great ball player. Some of the homeruns she hit, I don’t have one specific memory. Ashton playing shortstop for us, the defensive plays that she makes is just incredible. The throws across the field, she’s going ot play outfield at the next level, just an amazing kid.”
For McDaniel, she smiles and laugh knowing that it took some time for the quiet Mask to get use to her over the past three-years.
“I’m probably not one of the easiest persons to work with, I give Jim such a hard time,” laughs and smiles McDaniel. “But yeah, he’s definitely one of my favorite coaches, he knows how to push me, he knows how to make me work for him. I’m pretty out-going person so on the field, my presence is pretty loud around Jim and it took him some time to get used to it but he’s getting there.”
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