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Sports High School Sports Awards: Competition, work ethic fuels Indiana softball dynamo Keagan Rothrock

03:31  30 july  2022
03:31  30 july  2022 Source:   usatoday.com

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It's fitting that Roncalli High School (IN) softball phenom Keagan Rothrock is also an artist, because more often than not when she takes the field, she crafts a masterpiece.

The National Fastpitch Coaches Association and MaxPreps First Team All-America selection capped her junior season by helping the Royals (33-0) to a second consecutive Indiana High School Athletic Association Class 4A state softball crown. Rothrock will also be recognized during the USA TODAY High School Sports Awards national show broadcast premiering on July 31, 2022.

"It took a lot of work to win two state titles," the University of Florida-bound Rothrock said. "I know as a team we thought about it as we were going to go out there, have fun and play our game the way we know how. Doing those things really helped us to win state titles back-to-back."

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Rothrock got involved with painting and art in 2020, noting it provided an additional outlet amid spending time at home. On the field, she consistently delivered virtuoso performances in the pitching circle, as Rothrock's 27-0 record, 0.73 earned run average and 366 strikeouts in 163.1 innings will attest. Equally adept with the bat, she batted .529 with 14 home runs and 54 RBIs.

"I love the competitiveness," she said regarding the sport. "I love the drive of it and how you have to work hard to be successful. Nothing is truly given to you. You have to work for it. I also love the fact that you create friendships and memories that last a lifetime."

Rothrock's mother played softball collegiately and her father played baseball until college, setting the stage for a seamless introduction to the game.

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Rothrock proved to be equally adept with the bat, as her .529 batting average, 14 home runs and 54 RBIs will attest. © John Smith / Roncalli High School Rothrock proved to be equally adept with the bat, as her .529 batting average, 14 home runs and 54 RBIs will attest.

"When I was little, my mom would try to get me to pitch and I broke everything from decks, to fences, to neighbor windows," Rothrock said. "From there they put me in lessons and I played T-Ball growing up and competed in rec leagues. It's been a great journey."

With regard to her mental approach to the sport, Rothrock said she embraces tranquility.

"I want to stay calm, do my thing and get the job done," she said. "If something goes wrong, you have plenty of chances in front of you. You can't stress over the one mistake that was made. I don't try to overlook anything or look ahead."

In addition to being supremely gifted athletically and academically, Rothrock also seeks to give back to others through volunteer endeavors at Servant's Heart of Indy, which provides assistance to individuals and families in need via its food pantry, as well as clothing and furniture distribution efforts, Riley Hospital for Children and Powerhouse Training softball camps.

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Rothrock has decided to continue her academic and athletic pursuits at the University of Florida. © John Smith / Roncalli High School Rothrock has decided to continue her academic and athletic pursuits at the University of Florida.

"I get to work with people directly," she said. "I like being around people and have learned a lot through them. Usually if I off shop any paintings, all of that money goes to Riley. And I give pitching lessons at Powerhouse and in the winter, they do a ton of camps. I love working with kids and it's fun to be around them."

Rothrock grew up playing for a team named the Indiana Gators and at the next level she will be donning a Florida Gators uniform.

"We had gone down there (Gainesville, Florida) for a tournament - I was probably 10 or 11," she said. We had stopped at Pressly Stadium and I told my mom I was going to play there one day. I committed to Florida when I was in seventh grade. I'm super excited to play for them when I get to college."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: High School Sports Awards: Competition, work ethic fuels Indiana softball dynamo Keagan Rothrock

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