WHEELERSBURG — Playing softball at the next level is an opportunity that Wheelersburg senior Macee Eaton has aspired towards since her little league days.
Not only will Eaton compete at the next level, she’ll do it at the highest level — as a member of the University of Virginia softball program.
On Wednesday, Nov. 9, Eaton signed her national letter-of-intent to join the Cavaliers softball team as part of a six-player class beginning in the 2023-24 academic year.
“I’m so extremely blessed that I got this opportunity,” Eaton said. “I want to win another state championship here. But once I’m finished in high school, I can’t wait to get better and stronger once I get to the college level.”
Eaton’s accolades at the high school level are astounding, and the list is likely to grow during her senior year.
During her junior season, Eaton was the starting first baseman and hit No. 3 in the Lady Pirates’ lineup that helped win the program’s second Division III state championship.
She’s a two-time first team All-Ohio, All-Southeast District, and All-Southern Ohio Conference selection, as well as being named the SOC II Player of the Year during her sophomore and junior seasons.
Eaton is ranked as the No. 31 overall recruit by Extra Inning Softball, and is the second-highest ranked recruit signed by UVA — as part of its 2022 class.
She committed to becoming a Cavalier in September of 2021 — after a visit to the Charlottesville, Va. campus.
“I went to one of their camps in August of last year, and I fell in love with the campus. It’s extremely beautiful. I fell in love with my teammates and coaches — they’re very family oriented,” Eaton said. “If I’m going to be five hours away from home, I want to have that home feeling. I honestly feel like they’re going to not only teach me softball, but how to be a better person and how to prepare me for outside of softball.”
Other schools that showed interest in Eaton joining their program were Ohio State University and Mississippi State University.
Wheelersburg softball coach Teresa Ruby spoke at Eaton’s signing on what it’s like seeing one her players officially sign to compete at the highest level.
“It’s thrilling. Thankful that she’s gotten to this point. It’s a relief for her,” Ruby said. “She’s put in a tremendous amount of time and commitment to the game. That doesn’t take place at high school practice, it takes place in every season away from the field. She’s made that commitment and when they reap the rewards of that, it’s awesome to see.”
UVA is coming off of a 28-26 season in 2022, and a sixth-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) standings.
Their 2022 recruiting class is ranked the No. 22 overall class by Extra Innings Softball.
“It’s going to be hard leaving all of those friendships because they’re like my sisters,” Eaton said. “Once I get to UVA, I’ll get to develop more friendships and sisterhoods. But the girls on our softball team here at Wheelersburg, they’re my girls and I don’t feel like they’ll ever be replaced. My family’s just going to be a little bigger.”
Eaton said she’s undecided on what major she’ll study while attending UVA.
In the meantime, her focus is on winning a second-consecutive state championship during her senior season.
“It took a lot of sacrifices. I missed out on a lot of little kid things that people talk about. Practically my whole childhood was playing on a softball field. I am proud that softball has taught me multiple lessons, the adversity that you’re going to have in life. The grind really never stops. I worked so hard at a young age, now it’s constant — I know what I have to do. I’m still grinding now.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved