When you have watched a great many sporting events it becomes easy to spot the leaders on the field or court. There are the noisy ones like Pete Rose and the quiet ones like the late Hank Aaron. Both types are effective and you know they are leaders, not just because of their stats, but because you see teammates gravitate towards them and look to them when the going gets tough.
They are also the ones a teammate can turn to outside of the game.
East Hamilton’s Syerra Rogers is just such a leader. She is a pitcher with phenomenal stats, who can also roam the outfield like a hungry tiger. But stats and abilities aside, she was the one her teammates also turned to when things looked the darkest and the one always cheering on those same teammates as equals in the battle before them.
Rogers finished her senior season with a record of 19-3-2 and 272 strikeouts in 144.2 innings pitched. Her batting average was .422 with 12 homeruns and 42 RBIs. In her season finale, a heartbreaking 3-1 loss to White Co. in the Region 3AAA semifinals, she struck out 17 and allowed only one hit.
That was Saturday afternoon.
Saturday night Rogers was honored at the school’s Class Night ceremony with the Rachel Gamble Memorial Scholarship Award. The award is presented to graduating student-athletes at East Hamilton “who share Rachel’s spirit, character and heart for others.”
Rachel Gamble passed away in April of 2018, when Rogers was a freshman. Rachel died suddenly after a 36 hour illness. According to Jenni Oliver, her former coach, Gamble, despite being one of the smallest players on her middle school softball team, had the biggest heart and was full of determination and grit.
When asked about Rogers, East Hamilton head softball coach Norma Nelson said, “The words used to describe Rachel also describe Syerra.”
Those words, used as part of Oliver’s presentation, were, “Rachel will always be remembered as someone who brought joy and happiness to those around her and she saw the best in everyone. She had a zest for life and approached each and every obstacle before her with a heartwarming smile and a positive attitude. Her passion in life was to not only fulfill her own goals but to make an impact on the lives of those around her.”
Nelson, then continued, “Syerra has the biggest heart and is willing to help out anyway possible. She will do anything that is asked of her and takes initiative to things on her own, both on the field and off.”
The veteran coach concluded her remarks by saying, “She is a great leader. She is just an all-around good person.”
(Email Assistant Sports Editor Dennis Norwood at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter at @noogasports dude)