Seniors Say with ... Peabody's Makayla Rooney

Peabody's Makayla Rooney kicks up some dust on her way out of the batter's box. Rose Raymond photo

Player: Makayla Rooney

School: Peabody

Spring sport: Softball

What's the feeling been like getting back out there with Angels softball? Anything different about practicing or any good tips or solo drills from staying in shape before we got to Phase 2?

Getting back out there with the Angels team is a good feeling. Knowing I'm able to play softball with my friends back home one more time before leaving for Merrimack, is exciting. Even though it’s not my high school team it’s better than missing the whole summer with all my friends. Angels softball has really given me a chance to make new friends outside of high school. In the beginning of social distancing, the Angels team started zoom video chats every Thursday night for an hour to go over drills we can do at home. We have also been sending in videos of us hitting off the tee and our coaches have been helping us correct our swings

A few weeks ago we started doing practices every Wednesday at different times, with six people at different sessions. Practices are very different than before social distancing. It’s so different not practicing with my entire team, seeing everyone all at once, or even being able to be closer than six feet of each other. Some drills I’ve been doing at home on my own are hitting off the tee, going down to Kiley Field and doing soft toss with my dad and grandfather, and fielding ground balls.

One tip I have on solo drills and staying in shape for the summer season or your next fall season for high school is never do nothing. Even if it wasn’t for social distancing, I would still be in the off-season working off the tee on my own, hitting lessons, going down to the field and taking some ground balls. No matter what, always stay in shape. Even if it’s not specifically softball related, always eat healthy, work out at home, go for runs or even walks. Really any exercise will help you to stay in shape.

What was the hardest thing about missing the high school season? Anything you've been able to do it stay in touch with teammates or keep morale up?

The hardest thing about not playing in my last high school season is playing with all my underclassmen friends one more time before going off to college. Also, getting to wear my jersey one more time, not being able to have a routine every day after school, six days a week for two hours a day, and of course not being able to go to the tournament one more time. When I first knew that our season was at risk of not being played I had started a group chat for our varsity team even though we didn’t specifically know who was going to be on varsity. Even outside of the group chat I stayed in touch with all the girls from varsity last year just by texting them, calling them, hanging out with them, or just going for walks.

Did you have any preferences or must-haves for equipment, as far as glove, batting gloves, bat, spikes etc?

For catchers gear I definitely prefer Easton. For my fielding glove, I prefer Rawlings. It is a very reliable leather, and they’re well made. I have had my glove since my freshman year of high school, it hasn’t torn, or really worn down at all. For batting gloves I prefer Evo shield. Most Evo shield batting gloves come with a molding plate for your bottom hand to protect it if your hands ever get hit during an at-bat. For bats, I definitely prefer either Louisville Slugger LXT or Easton 2020 Ghost. Lastly, for my cleats, since freshman year I’ve always stuck with New Balance. I had the same pair of cleats from freshman year to my junior year. I get a new pair of cleats almost every two years.

Who was the toughest pitcher you faced in high school and what made them tough?

The toughest pitcher I faced in high school was Rona Scott from Beverly. She had many different pitches and her rise ball was really good. Another tough pitcher I faced in high school was Charlotte Plakins from Marblehead. She had a lot of speed on her fastball and a really good curveball.

If you could have played one game this year, who would you want to play against and at what park? Who's the biggest rival?

If I could have played one more game this year it would be Marblehead at Kiley Field. Marblehead had always been a tough team for us to go up against. Personally, I think our biggest rival for softball is Danvers.

What's the best book you've read either for school or outside school?

The best book I’ve read in high school was “The Crucible”. The book was definitely challenging to comprehend but I’m always up for a challenge.

What was your favorite class and/or teacher at Peabody High?

My favorite class definitely had to be my Senior English class with Mrs. Dobson. No matter what there was always a good vibe coming from the classroom as soon as you walked in. No matter who you were, you always got a “hello” from someone the second you walked through the door.

What was your favorite game or memory from high school sports?

In my entire high school softball career, my favorite memory was winning the Courtney Corning Tournament after 10 years. Especially after the previous year, I had gotten injured at the Courtney Corning Tournament and was unable to play the rest of the second game.

What's the best TV show for streaming or binging through either to pass a long trip or during the social distancing?

The best TV show you can binge to pass time for really anything is Grey’s Anatomy. It has 16 seasons that will take you months to finish. Another TV show you can watch to pass time is 13 Reasons Why.

What's the best advice you've gotten during the shutdown or what advice would you have for the juniors coming back next year?

The best advice I’ve gotten during the shut down is to stay positive and always look ahead to the future and what’s coming. I have a lot of softball left. Even though it won’t be the same as playing with my Peabody High friends, I have another four years to make a new softball family. For the Juniors coming back next year to Peabody High to play softball, my best advice is never give up on yourself, and don’t take any practice, game, or scrimmage for granted. Take anything you can away from this sport. From friendships to personal lessons that the game has taught you. Overall, don’t take anything in your high school career for granted. It could all be taken away so suddenly with no warning. Go to those senior events, junior prom, senior prom, and senior luau, when the time comes. For Gina Terrazzano, Paige Ritchie, Elayna Capone, Sarah Broughton, and Emma Bloom, thank you for a season that I will never forget.

-- As told to Matt Williams

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