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Comet pair to play D3 softball

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Top, Raegan Ridgeway will play softball for Averett University next year. From left, first row, mother Renee Ridgeway, Ridgeway and father Ricky Ridgeway. Second row, HCHS athletics director Allen Lawter, Melanie Saunders, assistant varsity softball coach Jennifer Rutledge, jayvee softball coach Reagan Cannon, varsity softball coach Woody Bane, assistant softball coach Curly Marstin and HCHS principal Michael Lewis. Above, Skyla Strohm will continue her softball career at Ferrum College. From left, first row, sister Keira Strohm, mother Christy Strohm, Strohm and grandmother Jeannie Toombs. Second row, athletics director Allen Lawter, varsity softball coach Woody Bane, assistant varsity softball coach Jennifer Rutledge, assistant softball coach Curly Marstin and HCHS principal Michael Lewis. / May 14, 2020

Halifax County High School’s softball program was honored this week as two Comets signed letters-of-intent to attend NCAA Division-3 schools in Virginia to continue their soccer careers.

Skyla Strohm, a senior catcher, signed to play softball at Ferrum College. Raegan Ridgeway, a pitcher, has committed to play for Averett University.

Both girls said they were happy with being able to continue their softball careers in college while also furthering their education. The teammates have been involved with softball since they were small children, getting their organized-sports start in Dixie softball.

Strohm and Ridgeway said they were both at the park by the age of four playing t-ball in the league.

“I started playing when I was four or five at Mary Bethune,” Ridgeway said. “I was four years old and played Dixie,” Strohm added. Both girls credit a brother for peaking their interest in playing sports.

Strohm said the opportunity to play for the Panthers came about partly because of her participation on her travel team, Sudden Impact, based out of Lynchburg.

“I was playing travel ball one weekend and they got interested in me coming up there to play ‘cause they watched and like what we did,” said Strohm.

Strohm said after that, Ferrum coaches began to follow her. She was actively looking for a college to further her education and things just worked out. She added she loves the campus.

“Well, I went up there to tour it and I kind of like fell in love with the campus cause it’s really pretty up there, so that also drew me up there to go,” Strohm said. ““I’m going to be majoring pre-pharmacy to go and become a pharmacist.”

Strohm, an All-District performer her sophomore and junior seasons, said as a catcher she feels like one of her best skills is framing. She noted if she had one thing she wanted to improve it was blocking.

“Probably like framing the pitches to make the pitches look better because that’s really important, for you and the pitcher,” Strohm said. And on that need to improve – “probably blocking, maybe.”

Ridgeway’s rise to Averett wasn’t as planned out as Strohm’s. Partly because Ridgeway had decided she didn’t want to play softball – in college or her senior season.

“I didn’t want to play in college,” Ridgeway said. “And I had decided I wasn’t going to play this year.”

So what helped to change Ridgeway’s thoughts of not playing again? Try a change of scenery and a new outlook on the game.

Ridgeway said in November she attended a softball camp at Averett. It was the turning point for her.

“After I finished it, I did a complete 360,” Ridgeway said referring to the camp. “It was a complete turnaround. I wanted to play softball after that.”

Ridgeway said when she played travel ball her coach was always telling her college coaches were looking at her. She said she didn’t believe it at the time.

She’s thankful for the softball camp because it not only improved her game but restored her love for the game and her desire to play one final season with her Comet teammates. Though Ridgeway pitches for the Comets, her primary role with the Cougars to begin may not be on the mound. “The coach told me he wanted me to play some second base,” Ridgeway said.

Both girls who saw one year of jayvee play before moving up to varsity their final three years said though they signed, not having their final season has been tough. Strohm saying she saw the team obtaining lofty goals this season.

“It kind of sucks, cause I was looking forward to playing one last season with all my friends that I have made over the years,” Strohm said. “And I feel like we could have actually went somewhere this year, like states and stuff cause we were a good team. And that’s what sucks ….”

Ridgeway, who is considering majoring in a biomedical program directed towards pre-vet, echoed Strohm’s disappointment.

“Honestly it’s really heartbreaking because I was so excited for this season,” Ridgeway said. “Me and the other seniors are thinking about playing Dixie in the summer if it’s possible so we can have one last ride together.”

Ridgeway lives in Nathalie with her family. Her dad and mom are Ricky and Renee Ridgeway. She has two brothers, Tanner Ridgeway and Bruce Anderson.

Strohm is a Clover resident. Her mom is Christy Strohm; she has a sister, Keira and brother, Zander.

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