By Kyle LoJacono
Most high school athletes’ playing days end after graduation, but a trio of Sunlake High softball players beat those odds and signed with colleges Nov. 10.
Pitcher Tyler Riendeau signed with Landers University, outfielder and shortstop Alex Rogers with University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNC-Charlotte) and catcher Amanda Solar with the University of Tampa (UT).
“Walking into a program that has three athletes gifted enough to sign with college tells me how good the team is,” said first-year coach Jami Finan, who spent two years coaching junior varsity softball at Wesley Chapel High before moving to Sunlake.
“We played against this team last year, so I knew they were good and this just proves that,” Finan continued. “We’ve had a good fall program getting to know the girls and their skills and I think the upper classmen will step up this year.”
Solar picked UT for its journalism program. She wants to work in sports broadcasting for ESPN. She batted .265 and threw out 11 of 25 potential base-stealers last year.
“I’m so happy to have my letter of intent signed because now I can relax,” Solar said. “I was actually really nervous about it last year, but now that I know I’ve signed I’ll be able to relax and just play.”
Riendeau came to Sunlake last year. She throws a fastball, dropball, knuckleball and cutter. Last season she led the team with 10 wins while adding a save with an earned run average of 2.50. She also had a .349 batting average, 22 hits and nine RBI.
“I’m just ready to go out this season and make it my best,” Riendeau said. “I’ve been working to make my pitches better and I can’t wait to get back on the mound.”
Rogers made a selfless act for the team last season when she switched from playing outfield to shortstop for the good of the team last year.
“I’ll play wherever coach wants me,” Rogers said. “I just want to play wherever it most helps the team win.”
Despite being new to the position, she still made the All-Sunshine Athletic Conference first team. She batted .378 with a team leading 35 runs scored while adding 28 hits and 12 RBI. She also led the team with 14 steals.
-All stats as recorded to Maxpreps.com by coaches.
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