Rodriguez ends CHS softball career, awaits future at TSU

+Coppell+senior+Nora+Rodriguez+pitches+against+Flower+Mound+during+the+first+inning+at+Coppell+ISD+Baseball%2FSoftball+Complex+on+March+22.+A+four-year+varsity+player%2C+Rodriguez+will+play+college+softball+at+Texas+Southern+University.
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Rodriguez ends CHS softball career, awaits future at TSU

 Coppell senior Nora Rodriguez pitches against Flower Mound during the first inning at Coppell ISD Baseball/Softball Complex on March 22. A four-year varsity player, Rodriguez will play college softball at Texas Southern University.

Coppell senior Nora Rodriguez pitches against Flower Mound during the first inning at Coppell ISD Baseball/Softball Complex on March 22. A four-year varsity player, Rodriguez will play college softball at Texas Southern University.

Bren Flechtner

Coppell senior Nora Rodriguez pitches against Flower Mound during the first inning at Coppell ISD Baseball/Softball Complex on March 22. A four-year varsity player, Rodriguez will play college softball at Texas Southern University.

Bren Flechtner

Bren Flechtner

Coppell senior Nora Rodriguez pitches against Flower Mound during the first inning at Coppell ISD Baseball/Softball Complex on March 22. A four-year varsity player, Rodriguez will play college softball at Texas Southern University.

Sally Parampottil, Co-Student Life Editor

Though the Coppell High School softball season ended with a 5-2 loss to Keller on April 26 during bi-district playoffs, senior pitcher Nora Rodriguez will continue to pitch once she graduates. With an athletic scholarship to Texas Southern University, she will extend her eight-year pitching career further.

Rodriguez began playing tee-ball at age 5 when her parents signed her up. From there, she graduated to softball, where she played shortstop for a while with pitching on the side. At 10, Rodriguez began to pitch more when another pitcher on the team got a concussion. From there, her skills only grew.

“I wasn’t very good,” Rodriguez said. “I just slowly got better, and then I started to focus on pitching more. And then, that’s when I really started to get better.”

Rodriguez differs from other pitchers in her style of throwing.

“I’m not really a speed pitcher,” Rodriguez said. “I focus more on the movement of my pitches. I feel like most pitchers have one good pitch, and I feel like [I have] a lot of different pitches I could depend on. If one game a riseball isn’t working, I have a changeup I can use. I’m really unpredictable, and hitters never really know what’s coming.”

Having been on the varsity all four years, Rodriguez was able to build strong team relationships and form lasting memories. One of said memories came from last year during the Class 6A area playoffs, a victory against Lufkin.

“That was just a really good feeling for the team,” Rodriguez said. “It was a team contribution. The team we played second round was really hard, but I limited them to one run, and the defense really helped me. There were a few diving catches, we were all just working together, and the offense came through.”

CHS senior catcher Ariana Figueroa, who has known Rodriguez since she was 6, remembers the game well.

“We were playing a really good team,” Figueroa said. “We were the underdog in that series, and she was pitching, and I was catching. It was the very last inning, and we ended up winning the game. I just remember the feeling I had because she had never pitched a game like that before, it was amazing. I just loved that feeling of happiness I had and excitement for her. We both just really connected that day, and that’s just one of my favorite memories I had with her.”

According to Figueroa, Rodriguez’s personality shines through her work on the field.

“Nora is someone who is very determined,” Figueroa said. “She isn’t afraid of a challenge. If she makes a mistake, you can’t really see it. You can’t see she’s affected by it, she just moves on and keeps going and works harder. If she’s doing bad, in that game she will make sure to fix it the next inning or the next play. She makes up for it every single time. She’s just extremely hard working on the field, and I can always count on her to do her job.”

Figueroa’s opinions are not the only ones. CHS junior outfielder Chloe Barker believes Rodriguez to be a positive influence on the team.

“She made our whole team a happier and brighter place,” Barker said. “We were always like, ‘we’re going to try our hardest to try and support her,’ because she’s pitching, so we have to do our best in order to do good for her. She also takes the game really seriously, so that will leave a lasting impact on Coppell softball.”

Close ties are a distinct part of the CHS softball team. Rodriguez contributes to that atmosphere, not only by the way she plays but by the way she interacts with her teammates.

“She’s really outgoing, and she always cheers on her teammates, probably more than anyone on the team,” Barker said. “She’s very loud, and she’s very supportive. Whenever I do badly in games, she always comes up to me and talks to me about it. She’s also really athletic and good at pitching, and she’s been doing that for years. She leads our team in a way.”

The relationships between players on the team provide an environment for the development of individual skills. For Rodriguez, as a pitcher, this rings especially true.

“You can kind of see the pitcher as the leader of the team,” Rodriguez said. “By doing my job, by pitching, that makes everyone want to work behind you, and if I see my team really working hard offensively and doing their best, that encourages me and makes me want to pitch better for them.”

For now, Rodriguez can look forward to a summer with her club team, Excel Elite. While she has no more games to play for CHS, new opportunities await her at TSU.

Follow Sally (@sparampottil) on Twitter.

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