Do-over

Davies se­nior ‘dreamed’ of win­ning D-II cham­pi­onship

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JON BAKER jbaker@paw­tuck­et­times.com

Davies se­nior third base­man Rochelle Reaux would give up prom and grad­u­a­tion for the chance to play her fi­nal soft­ball sea­son.

NORTH PROV­I­DENCE — This is just how badly Rochelle Reaux wanted to play soft­ball this spring:

“If I could, if I had a choice, I would ac­tu­ally trade both a prom night and grad­u­a­tion day to have had a sea­son,” stated the would-be start­ing third base­man for the Davies Tech var­sity team, in ref­er­ence to its can­cel­la­tion. “I would, ba­si­cally, be­cause it was my last year. I’m a se­nior, and it was my last chance, one I’ll never get again.

“I had big dreams of hav­ing a great sea­son,” she added. “I wanted to do a bet­ter job de­fen­sively at third, and I wanted to have more hits. I also was think­ing, way deep down, ‘God, I want us to make the play­offs, maybe even win a surprise cham­pi­onship.’ Ob­vi­ously, that would have been su­per hard, but it doesn’t hurt to dream.

“I would choose a sea­son over the prom or grad­u­a­tion be­cause I feel soft­ball bet­ters me phys­i­cally and men­tally. I miss it more than the other two.”

Reaux (pro­nounced RAY-oh) claimed be­ing all pumped up prior to the cam­paign’s plug be­ing pulled due to the coro­n­avirus out­break, that she had spent sig­nif­i­cant time this win­ter and early spring train­ing for it.

“When I wasn’t work­ing at Prov­i­dence Place Mall, I’d go out run­ning, I’d go to the gym and do a lot of stairs, lift, try to con­di­tion my legs,” she noted. “I mean, I was go­ing to be a four-year starter, and I wanted to go out on a re­ally high note.

“Now, some­times I’ll come across some old pic­tures or some old news­pa­per sto­ries, and I’ll think, ‘Man, that should have been us this year.

“We should be out there play­ing,’” she added. “I also wish I didn’t have to be in this house all the time, but I have to – we all have to – for safety rea­sons. I also wanted to play so badly be­cause high school soft­ball is the only thing I do. I don’t play for a club or travel team like other girls

“That makes (the can­cel­la­tion) even worse. I don’t have (play­ing) to look for­ward to later.”

Un­daunted, though, Reaux is try­ing to make the best of a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion. That’s why she’s con­tin­u­ing to train (though she ad­mits not as much as she was), look back at a cer­tain pos­i­tive el­e­ment of her se­nior year and glimpse ahead at her not-so-dis­tant fu­ture.

First, in the fall, Reaux de­cided to reg­is­ter for the Pa­tri­ots’ first-ever girls volleyball pro­gram, and – as she ex­pected – fell in love with it.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to play and see what it was like, but I never had the op­por­tu­nity; I never played for a club team,” she said. “When Davies of­fered it, I jumped at the chance. Even be­fore that, though, I would watch col­lege volleyball matches on tele­vi­sion or I’d call up in­struc­tional videos on You Tube.

“I re­ally en­joyed play­ing, drilling the ball down (as an out­side hit­ter), be­ing a mem­ber of a brand new team, be­ing part of some­thing new. Be­ing a se­nior, I was able to lead the younger girls and teach them, even though I didn’t have a ton of ex­pe­ri­ence my­self.

“If I have a best mem­ory in my sports ca­reer at Davies, it was my Se­nior Night for volleyball; part of that is be­cause I un­for­tu­nately never got one for soft­ball,” she con­tin­ued. “It was against Times2 Academy, and we lost, but my fam­ily came to see me and cheer me on.

“My team­mates also made it re­ally spe­cial for all of us se­niors; you could tell they put a lot of time and ef­fort into it. They made posters for each of us, and they all signed them. The coach (Shanelle Reilly) and un­der­class­men gave us all flow­ers and gift bags, which (con­tained) a brand new volleyball and candy and snacks. That was some­thing else. It made us all feel so good.”

As for her fu­ture, she’s spend­ing a lot of time pre­par­ing to at­tend Ken­tucky State

Univer­sity in Frank­furt. She chose to at­tend that school, she said, be­cause she was of­fered an aca­demic schol­ar­ship, and, frankly, fell in love with the school. She is un­cer­tain if she will try to walk on the var­sity squad.

“It’s beau­ti­ful,” she said. ‘It’s a his­tor­i­cally black col­lege, one with a lot of pres­tige. Right now, my idea to ma­jor in com­puter sci­ence; I’d some­day like to be in­volved in cy­ber se­cu­rity. I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in soft­ware devel­op­ment since I was very young, prob­a­bly third grade. It’s some­thing that con­tin­u­ally keeps me in­trigued be­cause it’s al­ways chang­ing.

“I’m su­per-ex­cited about go­ing to col­lege; I can’t wait. I want to meet new peo­ple, be in a new en­vi­ron­ment and do new things. I think I’m even more pumped up for this now than I or­di­nar­ily would be be­cause it helps me for­get the pain of not hav­ing a soft­ball sea­son. I wanted to prove so much; prove that I could be a re­ally good player.”

Soft­ball coach Bob Morris ex­pected ter­rific things from one his team lead­ers as well.

“She used to tell m all the time how ex­cited she was about the soft­ball sea­son,” Morris said. “In fact, she’d even do that while she was play­ing volleyball. You could tell she had im­proved since last year; that’s why I said it looked like she’d be the starter at third.

“Her de­fense had got­ten much bet­ter, and her hit­ting had im­proved. The thing about her, she’s not a very vo­cal leader, but in­stead leads by ex­am­ple. She al­ways does the right thing, and is just a re­ally good kid. My heart goes out to her and the other play­ers. We were all re­ally look­ing for­ward to soft­ball.”

Reaux ex­plained she’s deal­ing with her mas­sive dis­ap­point­ment by try­ing to stay busy. She ad­mits she can’t wait to get back to work – nat­u­rally, her em­ployer has yet to re­open – so she will par­take in her hobby of paint­ing with acrylics, or do some kick­box­ing, with or with­out her older brother.

“I’ve taken some classes be­fore, and I like it, so I’ll ei­ther go down­stairs and work on the bag in my base­ment or run up­stairs and so some moves in my room; it helps me re­lieve stress,” she laughed. “It helps a lot, helps me pass the time.”

As of now, she’s still work­ing hard try­ing to com­plete all of her school­work, and look­ing for­ward to Davies Tech’s “Di­ploma Pickup Day” on June 12.

“I’m ex­cited about that,” she said. “I should be able to see some of my friends there be­fore I leave for school around Aug. 14.”

Sub­mit­ted photo

Davies se­nior third base­man Rochelle Reaux would give up prom and grad­u­a­tion for the chance to play her fi­nal soft­ball sea­son.

Sub­mit­ted photo

Davies se­nior Rochelle Reaux (left), stand­ing next to team­mate Vanessa Nar­ciso (right), wanted to get the Pa­tri­ots back to the play­offs this sea­son.

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