The next sport we will be covering is the Softball team. Coach John Hall expected to have three seniors lead the way this spring. Jacqueline Marquez, Abigail McCafferty, and Megan Bennett were supposed to finish their high school athletic careers on the softball diamond. Although they were unable to finish their careers on a high note, their positive attitudes have never wavered. These three young ladies have accomplished great feats academically, athletically, and personally. Throughout their four years of walking the halls of Portage High School, they have constantly been a positive influence on others.
Jacqueline Marquez began playing softball at seven years old and has played for PHS since becoming a freshman. She explained that her favorite softball memory is of a time that the team had a unique opportunity to bond with one another during a weekend tournament. Marquez states, “It is a simple memory but it holds a special meaning in my heart”. Marquez then took some time out to thank her family and friends. She wrote, “To my family and friends— thank you for your love and support. Thank you for pushing me to be the best version of myself both on and off of the field. I love you”. Next, she decided to address her teammates. Marquez stated, “To my teammates— always stay positive and keep your head up, even when you are struggling. When you go to practice, always try to find something to work on to make yourself a better player. Always be there for your teammates because they are your family and [they] will be there for you. Always work hard in everything you do, whether it be in or out of school, because it will help to make you a better player and person. Do your best to lead by example, whether it is verbal or nonverbal, because it makes a difference and helps to push your teammates to be the best they can. Thank you for making my experience so special”. This Fall, Marquez will be continuing her academic and athletic career at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Abigail McCafferty began playing softball at nine years old. McCafferty lettered in both softball (one time) and basketball (two times). She began playing for the PHS softball team as a sophomore and explained how it has been far from easy. She went on to express how she was continuously challenged, but those challenges gave her the opportunity to become a better person/player and that the tough times she has endured have been “beyond special” to her. McCafferty went on to point out that being a part of the softball program allowed her to make lifelong friends. Her favorite softball memories were, “the bus rides, sitting with my friends and just listening to music, excited to play. Nothing feels better”. She advises the underclass students to not take anything for granted, play for the program, and play everyday like it is the last. McCafferty plans to join the military after graduating from high school. She leaves for Air Force boot camp in June. McCafferty signed off with this, “I would like to thank my parents for always being at my games before the sun is even up, the loud cheers when I’m up to bat, the embarrassing team bonding videos, and more. You guys have gone above and beyond for me and have always been the shoulders in which I can lean on. You guys have been my rock since the beginning and have raised me into a strong independent woman. I love you both from the bottom of my heart. On top of that, I want to specifically thank all my coaches, past and present, for helping me grow into the woman I am now and for always showing me to not give up. I am forever grateful for everyone I have met throughout my time in this sport that I love so much. It has been such a rollercoaster, but it’s time for me to get off this ride”.
Megan Bennett began playing softball in fifth grade and started playing for PHS as a freshman. Her favorite memories are, “all the diving practices with Coach C”. Bennett advises the underclass students to, “go hard at every practice and never take the game for granted. Also, always give 110% and never stop trying to improve”. This Fall, Bennett will be attending Xavier University to study radiological technology. Although Xavier University doesn’t have an official softball team, she intends to explore options to play club/intramural softball during her time there.
These exceptional young ladies have made Portage extremely proud over the last four years. Their ambition and intelligence will certainly take them far. All of us within the PHS athletic department have no doubts that these young women will be successful in the next chapters of their lives. Thank you for being such great students, athletes, and individuals. Congratulations on fantastic careers and good luck in the future!