Rio inks Rucker

Published 11:53 pm Saturday, May 16, 2009

PROCTORVILLE — What Mackenzie Rucker knows made it easy for Rio Grande softball coach David Pyles to learn what he needed to know.

Pyles said the game knowledge Fairland’s senior catcher exhibits is what led him to sign Rucker to a letter-of-intent to play for the RedStorm.

“She is a good, heads-up player who is always hustling,” said Pyles. “She knows the game well and you can tell she enjoys playing.”

Rucker not only enjoys the game, she has excelled. A four-year starter who also started in volleyball and basketball, Rucker was the softball team’s two-time Most Valuable Player, a two-time all-district player, and a four-time All-Ohio Valley Conference.

“Rio Grande offered me basketball, too, but softball has always been my best sport,” said Rucker. “I think going to school to play one sport is tough enough.”

Along with Rio Grande, Rucker looked at Marshall and Morehead State, but she settled on Rio Grande for several reasons.

“I had a lot of offers, but I didn’t consider playing until Rio Grande called,” said Rucker. “I was nervous at first when I went there to visit, but it’s a small campus and they really focus on education.”

Rio Grande has one catcher returning next season and she will be a senior. Pyles said it was necessary to add another player to the position now.

“More than likely, (Rucker) will play designated hitter and maybe split some time. We play a lot of doubleheaders and I like to let her rest once in a while. We’ll let our catcher play some third base. It’ll be something like that.,” said Pyles.

Rucker isn’t sure what to expect when she arrives for the fall season.

“It’s going to be different at first, but I have the desire to do well,” said Rucker. “

Mackenzie, who plans to major in nursing, is the daughter of Jeff and Debbie Rucker of Proctorville.