Rain hopes to have the same impact on her college program and will have the opportunity at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University after signing a softball scholarship Thursday at Cartersville High.
“Definitely the coach. Coach [Sarah] Lockett, she’s pretty much as good as they come,” Rain said of why she chose Embry-Riddle. “You just don’t really find a better coach or a better person than where I’m going. And I’m going to study homeland security down there and that was something else that kind of attracted me to go there, and I’m going to have a minor in criminology. It was pretty much exactly what I was looking for — perfect school and perfect coach.”
“It’s kind of always been a dream since I was a little kid. I started playing baseball, changed over, started playing softball, and this is what I do ever since I was 10 years old. This is my life and that’s what I’m going to go do in college.”
As a senior, Rain batted .457 with five doubles and 10 walks in just 46 plate appearances in region play. Her performance helped lead the Lady Canes to the second seed in the region heading into the tournament. Overall, Rain hit .322 with 22 runs scored from the leadoff spot in the batting order. She had 10 doubles in 87 at bats and walked 19 times for a .443 on-base percentage. She also was one of the team’s strongest defenders in left field. Rain’s season earned her a spot on the all-county and all-region team.
“I’ve coached her since 8-and-under, so it’s nice to see her grow. She switched over from baseball. She played with boys forever, and she started all four years [at Cartersville]. Her senior year was her best year, and I’m sure she’ll make some type of impact,” Cartersville head coach Rick Holsomback said. “She’s just grown in speed and power and used those skills. I think what she added was speed and the ability to cover a lot of ground in the outfield. She was a threat. Anytime there’s a slap hitter, you never know what they’re going to do, either bunt, slap or hit. That triple option, if you will, put a lot of fear in a lot of defenses and got us a lot of runs.”
Rain batted out of the leadoff spot and in the No. 2 hole last season as the Cartersville program went further into the state playoffs than ever before. She made the switch from a right-handed hitter to a left-handed slap-hitter during her career. The move helped grow Rain into one of the region’s best players and her development is indicative of the Cartersville program from winless in its first year in the region to one of the top teams.
“It was good to see her go from a right-handed batter. Some coaches and I talked and we said, ‘Go from the left because you have speed.’ It took off from there, and she started taking lessons and it has worked out great for her,” Holsomback said. “Being in a program that’s 0-10 and then going to state two years in a row prepared her for college because, if she does struggle, she’s been through those hard times. If they’re successful, she’s had that too, so she’ll be able to adapt easily if it’s good or bad.”
“Freshman year was definitely tough. It was an eye-opener because you may not have the best team in the region, but you still have to work hard. You still have to be a leader. You have to try your hardest,” Rain said. “Sophomore year, we did even better, junior year, first round of state. That was huge and then this year, making it to the second round of state, I couldn’t ask for more, making history. It definitely felt a lot better to work up to your senior year and have a big senior year. You really realize what you are capable of and what your team is capable of when you get the right people in the right place at the right time.”
Embry-Riddle, located in Daytona Beach, Fla., is a developing softball program in its third year. The program is currently in transition from an NAIA to a Division II athletics program. “It’s the No. 11 school in the South by US News and World Report, so I feel great academically. It’s an awesome fit because they have diversified and they offer so many different things. She has been very interested in the law and they have one of the first homeland security programs in the country. It’s something that’s very interesting to her, the technology and the law part of it,” Rain’s mother, Marsha Rain, said. “I have a brother that lives in Daytona and have family that lives in Florida and they’re all about an hour away. We spend a lot of time at the beach in Florida so she loves it. It’s like 15 minutes from the beach and that actually played a part in it.”
Rain also considered Berry College and Harding University in Arkansas, focusing on small schools with Division II, II and NAIA softball programs. The school’s proximity to the beach was of interest to Rain as well.
“My parents are both from Florida, so I definitely feel like I’m from florida,” Rain said. “I would call myself a Floridian. I love the beach, love it.”
Rain racked up the accomplishments her senior year at Cartersville and hopes to add to them in Daytona Beach. “I don’t even think I can put it into words, just seeing all her hard work pay off and having an opportunity to play the sport that she loves and go to college,” Marsha Rain said. “She’s been playing ball since she was seven. She’s never taken a season off during the offseason. She has a great work ethic when it comes to the game, and it’s the game that she loves.”