CEDAR RAPIDS — Grace Stockmaster has spent her past four summers playing softball at Washington High School.
In three of those years, the team has had three different coaches and struggled to pull off wins.
With inconsistency from the coaches, the team had to be there for each other, always willing to pick each other up when things were tough.
“The team makes it through obstacles by taking it day by day rather than looking down the road at the whole season,” Stockmaster said. “We always do it together.”
For Stockmaster and the Warriors, it was never about winning every game. It was about playing as a team and creating an unbreakable bond.
“It is extremely important to make bonds with teammates because it’s a long season,” said Stockmaster, whose season came to an end July 11 in a regional loss to Waterloo West. “There will be tough losses and there will be days where you don’t want to come to the field, but your teammates are in the same situation and you get through it together.”
Throughout her four years, Stockmaster was able to maintain a .358 batting average while having a .399 on base percentage. Being one of the best on a team that finished 2-37, Stockmaster did more than just play on the field. She helped contribute off the field, too.
“I spent the summer with my team because I truly believe that me being there helped younger players grow,” she said.
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Even though Stockmaster, who graduated in the spring, was able to produce at the plate year-in and year-out, she has decided to not play softball in college.
“I made the decision to put all my time into academics because my field will be pretty challenging,” she said. “I did the whole college exposure team idea and decided it wasn’t what I wanted.”
Softball and her teammates played a big role in her life. which is why she gave up her summers for the game.
“Finishing such a long softball career is something that was important to me because softball has been a huge part of my life for so long and I wanted to part with it the right way for me,” Stockmaster said.
Stockmaster always had a reason to go onto the field and play with all her heart. With her parents, teammates and coaches always there for her, she had a purpose to play every single day.
“I want to make them proud and make the time that they shared with me throughout the years really worth it, because all of them have put in so much time for me,” she said.
Stockmaster’s parents have been her biggest supporters since day one.
“My parents come to every game and I cannot fathom how much time and money they have spent supporting me,” she said.
Even though Stockmaster won’t be continuing her playing career in college, she always will remember the hours she spent with her dad practicing, the humid summer days she spent on the field with her team and the everlasting bonds created throughout the years.