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Heather Rocha leaves void in Poth
POTH -- When it comes to producing great athletes, Poth is one of the best schools in the area. It seems as though year after year, someone in a Poth uniform is making news.
Although the Poth Pirette volleyball team won yet another state title, and the basketball team came up a bit short, it was surprising to see the softball team get bumped from the playoffs as early as it did. The team was quite young, though, and it met with a number of unique challenges.
The Pirette softball team is going to be just fine again next season, though it will have to get it done without one of its best players in recent years. Heather Rocha graduated this year, and her efforts will definitely be missed when Poth laces up the cleats next spring.
“We were very young this season,” said Poth Softball Head Coach Carilee Robbins. “If it wasn’t for Heather’s leadership and level of play, we would not have been able to do well in district or make the playoffs at all.”
Robbins was able to provide a bit of insight on Rocha, and outlined exactly why she is going to miss her standout athlete next season.
“Every game, Heather quietly and confidently gets the job done,” Robbins said. “She leads by example and work ethic.”
Rocha was a great fielder for the Pirettes, but perhaps it was her talents at the plate that shined the brightest.
“For the past four years, she hit in our No. 2 spot and did a great job moving the runners and knocking them in,” Robbins said. “I was always confident that when she came up to bat with runners in scoring position, that we would get the runs on the board.”
Rocha was great at making contact and moving runners around the bases, but she also hit with power and drove in nearly as many runs as she had total hits in her career.
“Heather has a tremendous amount of power -- the best I have seen in any of the players I have coached at Poth,” Robbins said. “Some of her home runs this year cleared the fence by at least 50 feet.”
Robbins also described Rocha as the “stronghold” of the Pirettes’ infield. She praised Rocha’s ability to get to the ball and make the outs.
“It didn’t matter if she was at second base, shortstop, or catcher, I knew that she was going to figure out a way to get the job done,” Robbins said. “Her footwork is excellent, she can track down any ball, and she has the arm strength to gun the runners down.”
Robbins’ words carry a lot of weight, but Rocha’s numbers also speak volumes for the contributions she made to the Pirettes over the last four years.
During her freshman season, Rocha had 41 hits and 34 RBIs en route to a .383 batting average. As a sophomore, her numbers stayed nearly identical, as she turned in another 41 hits, including 35 RBIs, and had 15 hits for extra bases. She once again finished the year with a batting average of .383. Rocha received Texas Sports Writers Association All-State honors both years, and helped her team to the regional playoffs both seasons.
Her numbers picked up during her junior year, as Rocha’s batting average jumped to .469. She tallied a total of 61 hits and had 59 RBIs. She also hit 14 doubles, a triple, and had 3 home runs.
Her senior season was definitely the best, though, as Rocha turned in a .544 batting average, tallying 43 hits, and included 41 RBIs. Robbins talked about her power, and Rocha put up the numbers to support it with 12 doubles, 7 triples, and 7 home runs. She also had a senior-season fielding percentage of .802 with 38 put outs and 39 assists.
Rocha earned first-team all-district honors her junior year, and was the district’s Offensive Player of the Year as a senior. She was named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association All-State team both seasons, and once again received recognition from the Texas Sports Writers Association. She earned San Antonio Express-News Player of the Week and Sub-4A Infield honors her senior year. She has also been selected to participate in the Texas Girls Coaches Association All-Star game this summer.
And in case those numbers weren’t impressive enough, Rocha held a grade-point average of 101 and graduated fifth in her class. She received Academic All-State honors all four years of high school.
“I am going to miss her,” Robbins said, “but she is going to do awesome at the University of Texas next year.”
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