Rock Valley sweeps Madison, honors softball team with ring ceremony

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) Saturday could not have gone any better for Rock Valley athletics. The Golden Eagles won both men's and women's basketball games against Madison College on banner day for the softball program.

In between the two games, the school honored the 2018 softball team with a banner raising and ring ceremony, recognizing their fifth straight NJCAA DIII national championship. Last year's team came back from an 0-1 deficit in the three-game championship series against Herkimer to win the title.

Head coach Darin Monroe has been through four of these ceremonies before, but said it's a nice reminder of what was accomplished.

"For those freshmen, it becomes real and for those sophomores it's what they wanted to finish their career and go out on that high note. It's great to have everybody back together," said Monroe.

"The wins and losses are great, but it's about the connections that you make and the friendships that last forever with these kids. We're proud that they chose Rock Valley. I'm looking forward to follow their careers and continuing to be productive citizens in the area. It's a great moment for us."

Rock Valley graduates Annaka Barz and Madason Shaw agree with their former coach.

"It was a lot of fun to pull the banner for the second time," said Shaw. "I'm really happy that I got to do it with my teammates. It's just a memory for a lifetime."

"We know we (were) a strong team. We just knew we had to go into it determined," said Barz. "I think we had worked so hard throughout the year, leading up to the moment that it was ours. We knew that all we had to do was put everything we had into that game."

"Obviously that worked out well for us and here we are."