Rock Valley softball returns home with meaningful seventh straight national championship
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Rock Valley softball won its seventh straight national championship on Sunday in dominating fashion. The Golden Eagles outscored their opponents 57-3 in their four wins. RVC only trailed for one inning the entire tournament.
The team returned to Rockford Monday with the hardware in hand. After taking the team photo with the trophy, emotions poured out from the players. The Golden Eagles had their season taken away from them last year. They know that this one meant a little more because of everything they went through.
“We are very lucky to have the girls that we had,” said sophomore Jenna Lawson. “I’ve never been on a team like this, this dominant. It was just an amazing experience to end on. So, I’m very grateful.”
But while seven may just be a number to some, it has a special meaning for the Golden Eagles program.
“To even consider the fact that my teammates think that I’m a portion of who she was as a player and who she is as a person, I hope that I made her proud in it.”
Three years ago, a former Rock Valley softball player and All-American, Summer Amman died by suicide. She wore number seven. Since then, the team has chosen a player who best exemplifies Amman on and off the field. This year, that honor went to her former high school teammate Trinity Fry.
”She played with heart. She wasn’t out there to look good, to be the coach’s favorite, to be the most eye-pleasing, no,” said Fry. “She was out there to do a job and have fun with her teammates. So, that was what this season was about for me.”
“She made Summer proud,” explained sophomore Kirstin Fudge. “Her representing Summer is something so special because I see so much in her, about the characteristics that people talk about Summer. So, I think she did a great job carrying on her legacy.”
Fry says she’s had a guardian angel by her side during her time at RVC.
“Throughout this season, we’ve been finding four-leaf clovers all over our field. During our warm-up at our national championship game, I found seven of them. So I know she was there with me.”
Number seven was named the tournament MVP. The team finished with just seven losses. No other junior college program across all three divisions has ever won seven consecutive national titles. Head coach Darin Monroe says it’s come full circle.
”This is priceless. It means a lot. Summer meant a lot to a lot of people here,” said Monroe. “I’m just proud of the way the team represented in order to win this seventh championship.”
Monroe and the staff at Rock Valley College have taken the initiative over the years to talk about mental health, assuring their players that they are always their for them.
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