Former Lady Gov standout athlete Raelyn McGarry is in her first season playing softball for Elon College.
While at Nelson County High School, McGarry excelled in softball, track and volleyball, but for the college life, it’s softball. McGarry explains the difference for her between the two levels of play.
“I think the hardest thing about college softball compared to high school is the mentality that you have to develop,” McGarry said. “We play 50-plus games in the spring, and if we’re not playing, then we have weight room workouts and practice. It’s hard to get your body to adjust to that level of intensity and to show up mentally every day.
“The game doesn’t change. It just gets quicker, so that’s only a slight adjustment, but [it] truly is about taking care of your body and mind so that you show up fresh and healthy each day. Having a positive mindset and trusting the process becomes more important than anything.”
McGarry comes from a sports family that includes her dad and former coach Scott McGarry, her uncles and cousins, including Maria McGarry, who played softball at Radford.
“She continues to figure things out and make adjustments at this level on a daily basis. As primarily a role player so far, she is learning to adjust and adapt quickly — whether it is between her many roles or actually between pitches of what can be limited opportunities,” Scott McGarry said. “Getting her first start at [catcher] last [Saturday] and a full game in the line-up was a big boost to her confidence. She is very happy being part of Elon softball and enjoying the success that she and her team are having this season.”
McGarry has played a several positions including catching, outfield and pinch hitting and pinch running. Does she have a favorite spot? Yes, she does.
“If I had to choose a favorite, which is hard to do, I would have to choose catching,” McGarry said. “Behind the plate allows you to gain a better understanding of every aspect of the game. You are an integral part of every play, and you get insight into the umpire strike zone before anyone else. I think it’s the most mentally stimulating position on the field, and that’s why I love it so much.”
During a recent tournament hosted by Liberty University, the Elon team participated, which gave McGarry a chance to start behind the plate.
Along with getting her start, McGarry realized how much her Nelson County clan thought about her.
A small crowd showed up at LU to cheer on their favorite Elon player.
“I’m extremely lucky to have a support system that extends beyond my immediate family. I was really excited to play so close to home, and I was surprised by the amount of people that came to support,” McGarry said. “I think that’s a testament to how tightknit our community really is. I’ve never been prouder to be from Nelson County after seeing that kind of hometown support.”
McGarry got her first hit for Elon last week with a stand up triple against the University of North Carolina Greensboro.