When we compiled the 14U Extra Elite Eighty Club Rankings last month and had Ted Flannery's Birmingham Thunderbolts 04 team as one of the best in the nation, a key reason for the high selection is the presence of 2022 catcher Sam Roe, the outstanding prospect committed to the Florida Gators.
The future SEC player--who teams up with pitcher Alea Johnson (2022, LSU) to give the Alabama-based club team one of the best batteries in the nation at that age division--made the Top 10 of our previous 2022 Extra Elite 100 and will get serious consideration to be ranked highly again when we launch the revised rankings starting on May 20, 2019.
But it didn't always come easily and Sam, who has blogged for Extra Inning Softball a half dozen times, tells a great story about how her early career in softball didn't exactly set the world on fire!
Going back almost exactly a year to a blog she wrote for us on the "early days," here's the Florida freshman's recollection of how it all began for her between the lines...
Blog: Future Gator Sam Roe Reflects On Her “Train Wreck” Softball Start!
originally published on Extra Inning Softball on April 11, 2018
Samantha (“Sam”) Roe was rated by Extra Inning Softball as one of the Top 5 players in the Extra Elite 100 for the Class of 2022 and the catcher/infielder who is committed to Florida is a regular blogger for Extra Inning Softball.
If you haven’t read her previous blogs, you’ll definitely want to check them out, including her previous one telling her special story about being adopted.
Today, Sam—who plays for the Georgia Impact – Newland club team and is having a great year for her high school team, Rocky Bayou Christian School (Niceville, Florida)—talks about the early days when she had less than a stellar beginning to her softball career… not a problem now as in 11 high school games she had hit seven home runs, 10 doubles and 29 RBIs!
Do any of you remember your first time stepping out on the softball field?
Well, I sure do, because my first time walking out on the field was pretty much of a train wreck!
I was eight-years-old and had never played softball, but from that very first practice I fell in love with the sport. My first team was called the Orange Crushers and we went undefeated the whole season.
It was taught at the very first practice that in the sport of softball you treat your opponents with honor and respect. Thanks, Coach Trey Runnels, for reminding us of that at every single practice.
When I was younger I didn’t fully understand how important those words would be to me today.
My first game went pretty much like my first practice. I was playing shortstop and a ball short-hopped right onto my face, but I wasn’t about to leave the field. I think I struck out every at-bat that game, but the feeling of failure only made me work harder.
Beginning lessons led to the opportunity of playing travel ball while I was still playing rec ball. I had been playing rec ball for a month and at the same time began to play 10U softball for a local travel team, Sudden Impact.
That was a very good experience for me, because I loved the game through the failure. It was a rare occasion for my team to score, but we kept working and getting better.
During my first travel softball tournament the only catcher for our team became overheated. Coach Dennis Phillips, the head coach for Sudden Impact, told me to suit up. I wasn’t sure about the whole catching thing, but I was eight and thought the gear was cool and that catchers ran the show!
I’ve loved catching ever since. The idea that I can adjust my glove ever so slightly and hear the word “strike” is one of life’s greatest joys!
One of my fondest memories came when I was playing 10U softball. I went to my very first college camp with my friend Braden Runnels. Can you guess where we went? Yes!!! The University of Florida! #chompchomp
Sudden Impact turned into a 12U team. I was nine but my parents decided that they would let me move forward with my team. That season we were all very excited to find out that Andrea Browning would be our new coach. I was one lucky girl because Coach Andrea was my home school tutor and my travel ball coach.
Coach helped make me the player I am today, she always pushed us to be the best we could ever be even if it meant leaving our comfort zone. This amazing coach taught me to work hard, practice like you’re in the 7th inning and down by one, to respect the game and, most importantly, “Do You!”
Coach Andrea is currently the Head Coach at Tennessee State University and I think the ladies that get to play for her are lucky to have her on and off the field.
There is more to my softball story, but that’s where it began. I’d say it was a perfect beginning except the hit to the face and striking out (!), but all of that has made me a better player today!