Sometimes life throws a screwball at you, and sometimes Emily Rosas is the one on the rubber.
The All-Orange Empire Conference first-team pitcher is in her third and final season for the Dons. The Villa Park graduate has been handing out free smoke in 39 starting appearances with a 0.99 ERA. Rosas also collected an outstanding 279 strikeouts leading the Dons to the OEC championship.
Rosas is no stranger to setbacks, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her stats.
Last year, Rosas learned her brother died from COVID-19. A heavy blow that occurred mid-season, she knew her teammates had her back.
“I didn’t miss practice. He passed in the morning and I came to practice right after,” said Rosas. “I came to school and sat in my cubby. Being around my team helped a lot.”
This season she’s making her brother proud.
“He’d be making fun of me, that’s all brothers do,” said Rosas. “Laughing at me, being proud of me, but also finding a way to make fun of me in the midst of it. That’s what siblings are for.”
Her brother’s death isn’t the only screwball that life has thrown at her. Loss is all too familiar to Rosas since she was in high school. Her tattoos commemorate the people no longer with her.
“Every flower up here represents my family,” said Rosas. “Butterflies are for my best friend who passed away when I was 15, in a car accident.”
The leading pitcher for the Dons also experienced challenges during her softball career. In spring 2019, Rosas played for the University of North Dakota. Being thousands of miles away from home wasn’t easy, to the point that she considered calling it quits.
“It was environmental, being away from home, and all these things added up and made me not who I was before,” said Rosas. “It just took me down. It brought me down as a whole and I stopped being in love with softball and I had to completely fall in love with the game all over again.”
Rosas found the Dons softball program, which welcomed her with open arms. The coaching staff and teammates helped her revive a love for the game that she started playing at age four.
“Coach Ross had reached out to me in the summer and I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t thinking about playing softball anymore,” said Rosas. “I came and had a meeting with her and I fell in love with everything about it and I was like I’m coming here.”
On the field, she counts the ongoing support from her mother, Antonia, in helping her manage life’s screwballs. Antonia can always be seen at games with her Canon camera, making sure that she gets Emily’s good side for photos, which she takes for the team and family archives.
“She is a rock, like if I don’t see her at a game it hurts my heart,” said Rosas.”I enjoy seeing her do something that she loves, and luckily I get to do something that I love. And it also involves her getting to do something that she loves, which is taking pictures.”