Every summer thousands of young girls across the state of Indiana spend their summers grooming their softball skills in various leagues and on travel teams.
Participation on a travel team calls for sacrifices. Sacrifices for the girls playing and sacrifices for the parents of those girls. Lost are the weekends of hanging out with friends on those lazy days of summer and lost is the money spent by parents on hotels and food during tournament weekends.
The goal is to compete at these tournaments and have a good showing, but the ultimate goal is to ready each player for the competition she'll face at the high school level. Then, at the high school level the only tournament that matters is the dream of one day winning the IHSAA tournament.
Last Saturday at Ben Davis High School that dream became a reality for a Logansport product. Stacey (DeHaven) Rogers and her Tri-West Lady Bruins stood alone on the mountaintop with a 7-4 win over Yorktown High School, as they were crowned the IHSAA Class 3A state champs.
Rogers spent her youth playing in local leagues and also playing on travel teams during the summer. She knows all too well the sacrifices that are required of both players and parents when committed to travel ball as she once was there.
"It was a very neat experience for me to have played when I was younger. Softball is what I'm all about," she said. "I've been gearing for this day since I was 7 years old and my family has sacrificed just like these girls have, so I know what these girls have given up to get here."
Rogers played all through high school under former LHS coach Ron Kinnaman and graduated from Logan in 1996. After graduation she attended St. Joe College in Rensselaer where she also played Division II softball for the Pumas. Her first head coaching job was right here in Cass County when she was named to head the Pioneer High School program in 2003. She was head coach for the Lady Panthers for three years and nearly made it to the state finals in Class A in her second year at the helm.