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Rookie in name only

SOUTHINGTON — In her first year of significant varsity softball action, Rachel Dube has made a major impact, and people have taken notice.

The senior has been the backstop of the undefeated No. 1 Southington softball team, which is on the verge of winning a second consecutive state title.

Dube has had an First Team All-State and All-CCC season. Batting in the middle of a potent lineup, the catcher is hitting .458 with 20 RBI. She has nine doubles and two home runs.

Those stats, combined with her defensive prowess behind the plate, has earned Dube a spot on the roster of the Central Connecticut State University softball team. First, Dube will put in a post-grad year at Cheshire Academy starting this fall.

“I’m grateful,” Dube said. “It’s a great opportunity. I want to be close to home. I would miss my mom’s cooking too much if I went too far away.”

Dube said the stop at Cheshire Academy will help her academically and athletically.

“I’m dyslexic, so I had to do a lot of reading school when I was young,” Dube said. “A year at Cheshire Academy will allow me to take some courses that I never got to take in high school. I want to take more electives and I think it’s going to be very beneficial. I’m very excited.”

Dube certainly has the pedigree of being a great Southington athlete. She is a cousin to Vinny Clements, the former UConn and NFL football player.

“I looked up to him,” Dube said. “My family is full of great athletes. To have your cousin play in the NFL and play for UConn is such a high standard and reputation to uphold. I like it because it makes me work harder. He got so far and that makes me work harder to get where I want to go with my goals in life.”

As for softball, Dube said she likes catching because she is involved in every play.

“It’s very different,” Dube said. “It’s better than playing first base. You’re always in the action and you get to call the game and you have the best view, too.”

Dube catches junior Kendra Friedt. She’s helped guide her to a 0.44 ERA.

“She catches and frames the ball really well and makes me look so much better out there,” Friedt said f Dube. “She can pick people off too. She’s a really good all-around catcher.”

Dube persevered through some ill-timed injuries earlier in her Blue Knights’ career that cost her the opportunity of making a major impact before her senior year.

“Rachel was going to be starting first basemen last year, but she had a concussion just before the season started and Natalie Wadolowski really played well,” head coach Davina Hernandez said. “Rachel never gave up and she just kept working harder and harder to earn that spot. She proved how great of a player she is this year.”

Hernandez said she expects Dube to fit in well at Central.

“The CCSU coach came to a couple of our games and she was impressed with Rachel,” Hernandez said. “She had a spot for her the next season. It’s a perfect fit for her. She wanted to be close to home. She works really hard. Anywhere she goes she will excel.”

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