Senior spotlight: Lone softball senior played leadership role, juggled many activities
NATCHEZ — She may be the youngest in her immediate family, but Randa Morace was the oldest in her extended family.
The Trinity Episcopal center fielder was the lone senior on the 2012 softball squad, a position that made her the de-facto big sister in a group of 10 girls this season.
Being the youngest of three sisters at home, Morace said it was nice to experience a different role with her softball teammates.
“I’ve always wanted a little sister, so it’s kind of like I had a bunch of them,” Morace said.
As the one all the girls looked up to, Morace said she made sure to be encouraging to her teammates whenever they needed it.
“If any of them were ever down, I would try to cheer them up,” she said. “Our entire team, since we were so small, we were basically like family. There’s no tension between anyone. I would give them a hug if they did a good job.”
Which is something Morace said she’s picked up from her two older siblings, Ashley Graham, 28, and Trisha Morace, 25.
“They’re always so proud of me with everything I do,” Randa said. “They come watch all my performances, my games or whatever they can. They always encourage me to do my best.”
Trinity softball coach Chris Hutchins said Morace was forced into a leadership role by being the only senior, but it was something she was really good at.
“She did a good job with our group by incorporating all of the players,” Hutchins said. “She didn’t have favorites, and that made a big difference. Some of them were young and inexperienced and needed senior leadership.”
After moving to Trinity from Cathedral School her freshman year, Morace switched from first base to centerfield, and she said she hasn’t regretted it.
“At first base, you don’t really get anything hit to you, you just have infielders throw to you,” Morace said. “In centerfield, you have a lot more range, and in high school, they hit it to the outfield a lot. I get a lot more action,”
Hutchins said Morace was a constant in the outfield and someone he could rely on at all times.
“Particularly this year (being) surrounded by younger players, she was just a given to take control,” Hutchins said. “I never questioned that would happen, and it was nice to have that type of peace, because the center fielder is the ultimate controller of the field.”
Softball isn’t Morace’s only after-school activity — in fact, it’s one of many. She’s also head cheerleader at Trinity, a member of the girls basketball team, the senior class representative for the Trinity student council and a member of the Key Club. In addition, Morace dances and did theater for a while.
All of the activities can be stressful at times, Morace said, but a good support group helps keep things sane.
“It’s stressful sometimes, because a lot of them are on the same day, but (my coaches) and Trinity help me schedule around it,” Morace said.
Randa’s mother, Pam Morace, said she helps manage her daughter’s busy schedule — and is sometimes forced to say no.
“She wanted to run track (this spring), but that was going to be a little difficult,” Pam said. “She was also doing theater, but I had to scale back on that. It was every night of the week.”
Randa was recently selected to dance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, something she said she’s very excited about.
“I love New York, and I really want to be on Broadway,” Randa said. “I’ve only been once before, and I want to live there one day.”
Randa said she plans to attend Southern Mississippi and major in dance and theater in order to one day fulfill that dream. She also said she plans to take some teaching classes so she could potentially teach drama.
“I like to perform a lot, whether it’s dancing, acting or signing,” Randa said. “I guess it’s my hobby.”
Pam said she’s confident her daughter’s drive and determination will help her when she gets to USM.
“I feel like because she’s used to this momentum, her plans for college are going to be easier,” Pam said. “It’s not going to be overwhelming when she gets to USM. I think she’ll be ready, and that’s what she’s trying to achieve. The rigorous schedule is really going to prepare her for the rigors of college.”
Though graduation is not until next spring, Randa said she would miss her teammates on the softball field.
“It was heartbreaking on senior night,” she said. “I’ve kind of grown up with all of them, and I’ve seen them grow up and get better. It’s sad that I’m leaving.”
Randa also said she’ll miss her fellow seniors at Trinity, who have also bonded as a family of sorts.
“I’ll miss the sports and our (senior) class,” Randa said. “I think our class has 17 students. We really are like a family. We all get along, and we’ve been together for a long time.”
Hutchins said he would miss having Randa’s hard work and positive attitude.
“She came to work, did what she was supported to do and was constantly good throughout her career,” Hutchins said. “That’s an important attribute that everyone can learn from.”
Randa’s father is Tim Morace.