Council Rock North softball honored its two seniors with a surprise drive-by. Photos provided courtesy of CR North softball. To have your senior recognition included on the web site, send info/photos to SuburbanOneSports@comcast.net
Susan Yee was looking forward to her first season at the helm after being named the Council Rock North softball coach in late December only to see the season cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 16, the night that was supposed to be Rock North’s senior prom, Yee, her players and some of the program’s alums recognized the team’s two seniors – Rachel Lorence and Kayla Schram – with a surprise drive-by that was followed by photos and a brief time together with socially distancing in place.
Coach Susan Yee said: “I think we all felt the same when the season was called but even more so for Kayla and Rachel. They were really forward to this year. With last year’s team coming in with so much talent and such high expectations, I think a lot of people were a little disappointed with the outcome, and the two of them really embraced the challenge and wanted to change the team attitude. They were doing such a phenomenal job. All of the girls were looking forward to the season and incredibly optimistic. I was beyond happy with the team environment they created, and I give them all the credit in the world for the culture that they created with the team this year.
“They were both phenomenal leaders, and they made my transition into the program really easy. They really were very accepting of me and pulling everything together right from the get go, which I’m beyond grateful for. I couldn’t have asked for two better seniors. They were the heart and soul of the team. They were so approachable and encouraging for the younger players. You could see how comfortable the younger players were going to them. They weren’t intimidating leaders. One of the things that sums the two of them up was our one time on the field this year for our preseason game with CB South.
“Kayla was unfortunately out hurt and couldn’t play but could not have been more supportive of all of the girls. She just jumped right in – ‘Do you want me to do the book? Do you want me to warm this kid up?’ To the younger players on the bench ‘you’re going to do fine’ because we had a few very nervous younger players. We had a freshman who came up to bat, and she looked like she was going to pass out she was so nervous. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid so incredibly nervous – such a good kid and so excited for the opportunity. From third base, I wasn’t saying anything softball-wise. All I kept saying was ‘Breathe, it’s not life or death. Calm down, you’ll be okay.’ Kayla was the loudest kid from the dugout screaming for her.
“Rachel was on base, and this kid ended up getting a base hit that drove in some runs. CB South called time afterwards, and Rachel had advanced to third base with me. The kid came over to third base when they called time, and Rachel gave her the biggest hug and was like, ‘I’m so proud of you, I knew you could do it.’ It was just like – wow, these seniors have so taken these kids under their wings. It was so genuine, and that kind of sums up Rachel and Kayla to a T.
“I’m devastated for them that they didn’t get to have their senior season because I know how much they were looking forward to it and how hard they worked. At the risk of sounding selfish, I’m devastated over having such a short period of time with them before I have to give them up. I still feel beyond blessed that I had them, but I feel jipped that I lost them so quick. Everybody in our program and out of our program knows how much talent we lost last year. You can’t debate that. A lot of the kids initially were coming into the season wondering how are we going to fill those shoes?
“By the time we went into our scrimmage and definitely coming out of our scrimmage, I think every single kid was – ‘All right, we can do this. We might not win a league championship this year, but we’re going to surprise people.’ We all had this goal of continuing to improve and to build the program to where we want it to be, but the running thing was – first half of the season we’re going to knock off a couple of people that are going to be like ‘How did we lose to them?’ Come the second half of the season, it was going to turn into ‘Oh, that’s how they lost to North.’ That was really the goal, and the kids were so excited to play that role.”
Senior Rachel Lorence said: “The drive-by was a complete surprise – it was awesome. It was the day of our senior prom, and that’s something I was trying not to think about as the day went on, especially since some girls got dressed up and my dress was still getting altered. I heard honking, and nowadays, it’s always someone’s birthday, so I just though it was someone’s birthday. My mom kind of lured me outside, and I saw all these cars going by. My mom pointed a camera at me, and I said, ‘This isn’t for me. It’s not my birthday. What could this be?’ One of the girls that graduated – Jules Shields - yelled ‘Happy Senior Day’ out the window. I was so surprised – I didn’t even know what to do.
“It was amazing, and something that really stood out to me was that it wasn’t just girls that are currently on the team. It was girls that had graduated in the past few years. They don’t have an obligation to the team anymore, but they were there just because they wanted to support Kayla and me. It was really nice that they took that time to spend with us and to make sure that we felt loved and appreciated. They were so excited for us – everybody was, and it really felt like we were getting that recognition that we didn’t get from the season. It was so incredible.
“Kayla and I are the best of friends. It was nice to know each other so well and know how we lead to be able to make that good environment for the rest of our girls. I think something that helped us was being able to pick out the things from previous years that really helped us as a team get closer. In our stretching circle, we would do icebreakers before the practice just to get to know each other – what’s your favorite place to eat or what’s on your bucket list, things like that to get everybody in a good mood for practice. I’m sure we would have been able to do so much more for the team. We were really looking forward to having a close-knit team this year. We could definitely see it going in that direction. That’s a little bit unfortunate that we didn’t get to see how that would play out. The rising seniors are also very close like Kayla and I are, so I think they’ll do a great job. They know we’re always here if they have any questions or want to know our opinion on stuff. That will be exciting to see them lead next year.
“When we heard school was off for two weeks, it was almost like – this is a nice break from school, but how will it affect the season? Hearing that we weren’t going back to school and the season was cancelled, I was thinking back to my junior year. They say to play every game like it’s your last game. I was thinking back to that game, and I just remember thinking – I’ll miss the seniors, but I don’t think I really played it like my last North softball game. I’m lucky it’s not my last softball game ever, but I’m missing out on playing Neshaminy and all those big rivalries and painting the rock, but really when I thought about the season, I was thinking about not being able to create new relationships with girls. One of the things I was really excited about for being a senior captain – I was in that leadership role now where the freshmen, the sophomores and the juniors are going to look up to me. I was really excited to have that role and have the opportunity to make an impact on the younger girls. From way before the season started, I was thinking about how we wanted to do it. I generally lead by example, but I needed to do x, y, z. Honestly, that’s one of the things I’m going to miss the most is not being able to make as much of an impact on those younger girls. Also, all the little traditions we had – I didn’t know last year was going to be the last year we painted the rock with South. I didn’t know it would be the last time we’d sing the alma mater on the bus. You remember those little things and the relationships more than you do the time on the field and the specific plays. That’s probably the toughest part for me.”
Senior Kayla Schram said: “I had no idea (the drive-by) was going to happen. It definitely meant a lot. There were a lot of emotions I was having already not having a senior prom, so this was really nice. It was also cool to see the girls that graduated last year – that really surprised me. I saw all the girls from this season, and then I saw one of my best friends that graduated last year, and I just started crying. It was really cool that they all came because we’re really close to them. It was nice to catch up because we hadn’t seen them for a while.
“It was really hard (when the season was cancelled), especially because me and Rachel have been playing together since we were in second grade. We kind of worked our way up, and we got to high school and saw all the seniors and how great leaders they were, so we knew once we were seniors that’s the kind of leadership we wanted to build and have a really strong connection with our team and be good leaders. It was really hard because we didn’t get that chance. Even throughout the winter and the offseason, we were trying to be good leaders and form good bonds.
“We lost a lot of seniors from last year, so we were looked at as the underdogs, but sometimes it’s good because you don’t really have anything to lose. We wanted to try and prove ourselves and even though we were a young team see what we could do. We had a scrimmage, and even though I couldn’t play (because of an injury), it was nice because we did really well that game. I think we shocked ourselves almost because we didn’t know what to expect. We had one week of tryouts and we did really well that scrimmage. It kind of put a positive thought in our minds that we could have a good season. We were definitely looking for a fresh start with a young team – kind of just start something new and see what we were made of. It was definitely a disappointment. I’m not playing softball in college, and I wanted my last year to just be fun.”