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Robert F. "Bob" Cage, a Halifax native, was known for his achievements in an array of fields that he pursued with customary passion.
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The superintendent lost the support of a longtime backer, board chairman Robert Puryear
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There might have been some cynics wondering about the direction of the Halifax County High School varsity boys’ basketball team before last winter.
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A Rose is a Rose is a … Hokie standout
SoVaNow.com / June 04, 2012There are different levels of sport to challenge the limits of any athlete’s prowess and overall development, and a former Comet softball standout reached both personal and team highs this spring.
Betty Rose played a critical role for the NCAA Division 1 Virginia Tech softball team, which advanced to the recent finals of the NCAA Knoxville Regionals against fifth-ranked Tennessee, which has moved on to the national championship round, the women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Tech lost twice to the Volunteers, finishing the season with a 42-21 record.
The former Comet has matured and expanded her skill set on the diamond while maturing and adding her personal contributions to the history of Tech softball — even after a difficult start in Blacksburg.
Rose was back in town last week, watching the 2012 Halifax County High School varsity softball finale against Osbourn Park.
Of her trip to Knoxville, Rose said, “It was a very good and new experience, furtherest I’ve ever been in my life.”
“No one really thought we would go that far. People predicted we’d be sixth in the [Atlantic Coast Conference], but instead, we went to the ACC [tournament] championship, to the championship game,” Rose said.
Along the way, Virginia Tech defeated the University of North Carolina in the tournament before getting stopped eventually by the ACC champion Yellow Jackets.
The Hokies earned an NCAA bid and enjoyed a strong run in Knoxville before losing to the homestanding Volunteers.
“Nobody expected us to go that far. We just came together as a team and pulled it through in the end … peaking at the right time,” said Rose, who called the NCAA experience “awesome.”
Rose served as an anchor for the Tech defense at catcher. She played in and started 61 games, 60 coming at catcher and one as the designated player.
“I think [head coach] Scot Thomas has confidence in me. This season, I was one of the leaders, and there’s only two seniors [on the 2012 team],” Rose said.
Rose hit in the five spot most of the season in the lineup and worked to advance runners as needed.
Rose savored a breakout offensive campaign a year ago.
This season, in 61 games, the Tech senior hit .199, with 26 runs scored, five home runs and 23 RBI. Opponents had more tape and an opportunity to make adjustments against Rose following last season’s success. Rose had four doubles and scored 26 runs. She drew 19 walks and had three sacrifice flies and five sacrifice bunts. She had one stolen base.
Rose recorded six multi-hit games and five multi-RBI games. She also hit a walk-off grand slam to lift the Hokies over Cornell.
“It’s called ‘the sophomore slump.’ Because I didn’t play freshman year, basically last year was like my freshman year; pitchers, nobody really knew what I could do, my tendencies, but every game ... there’s a scouting report. Coaches break down all your tendencies, what you like to chase, all your weaknesses ....”
The opponents made adjustments. Rose slowed, but she still had a starting spot in the lineup, showcasing her defensive prowess.
Rose promised to make adjustments on her offense to be more effective next season.
Rose also has established a demanding work ethic to get this far in her athletic career.
“It’s a lot more of your time,” she said. “Sometimes, I’ll be at the field for five hours a day just for practice, and in game time, it’s an all-day occurrence. It really takes a lot of self-endurance and perseverance to go out there every day and do what you can to play at the best of your ability.”
Rose has improved her defensive skills in college to be able to start at catcher.
She finished with a .983 fielding percentage, with six errors, 40 assists, with 300 putouts, through 62 games, according to the stats on the website.
Rose has benefitted from her close relationship with Hokie ace and fellow rising senior Jasmin Harrell. “We’ve been together all throughout college. I know every single thing she’s thinking on the mound. ... We have a pitcher-catcher connection that most people don’t have. That was really easy. I know all of her tendencies, when she’s struggling, I know when to talk to her, and we’re really good friends,” Rose said.
Rose and Harrell plan to be roommates next year.
Rose is optimistic about next season. The Hokies lose two seniors but a strong class of newcomers is on the way, setting the stage for another potentially powerful run.
The Hokies’ set program records in 2012 for home runs (46), hit by pitch (47), sacrifice flies (19), assists (629), fielding percentage (.975) and double plays turned (31). Tech raced by the 40-win plateau for only the seventh time in the history of the program. The NCAA appearance was the fifth in Tech’s history.
“We’re bringing in even more pitchers and good players next year,” she said. “We’re going to be one of the top dogs next year.”
Tech softball has already switched over its roster, as Rose has one season of eligibility remaining. She is in line to start again. Rose has earned her undergraduate degree in three years and will stay at Virginia Tech, in graduate school, this fall.
Rose is poised to move forward on the all-time Hokie home run chart. Rose has 18 in her career so far, tied with two other players. Megan Evans (2002-05) is the out-of-reach Hokie career leader with 50, while current teammate Courtney Liddle, who returns, has 25. Four other former Hokies, all inactive players, have between 22 and 19 home runs.
Rose’s next dinger puts her in a tie with Shanel Garofalo, who played from 2001-04.
Rose also has six career sacrifice flies and could pass all-time leader Charisse Mariconda (2006-09), who has 10.
As for career fielding statistics, Rose has 606. Liddle is fourth all-time with 1,099.
Nothing is guaranteed in college athletics, and the former Comet stalwart will have to produce again and play crisp defense without major dropoffs.
This level of college athletics represents much more of a business than it was in high school.
Rose has crafted an impressive legacy in Blacksburg, and has one of the most significant overall athletic resumes of any graduate from the Halifax County High School varsity program.
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