When DeAnna Roach graduated from United Christian Academy (UCA) in May she thought she was probably going to go to Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) in Charlottesville and have to quit softball—a game she loves.
But then, Coach J.D. McCurdy offered her another chance—to play softball at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) starting this fall. Roach officially signed last Wednesday to play softball at EMU.
“I really didn’t think I was going this route,” Roach said. “I thought I was going to go to PVCC, but my family and my coaches were telling me to just try to see if I could make it. I really thought I was going to have to stop playing softball.”
Roach said she’s very excited she won’t have to, though. And she knew it was the right fit when, after the meeting with the coach, she saw the mountains. EMU is in Harrisonburg on the western side of the Skyline Drive while Greene lies on the eastern.
“I was sitting on the balcony looking at the mountains—I look at the other side of the mountains from my house every day,” she said. When I was on the other side in Harrisonburg and was looking at the mountains from that side I thought I could do this forever because it feels like home.”
To support her at her signing were her grandparents David and Donna Roach and her sisters Hanna and Emma. Hanna Roach, a rising sophomore at UCA, plays catcher for the Lady Crusaders. Emma, a rising junior at UCA, plays centerfield.
“I am very appreciative to my parents and grandparents and family,” she said.
Donna Roach said the family is “beyond proud.”
Ray Powell, UCA athletic director and softball coach, said DeAnna Roach earned the honor.
“It is very, very deserved,” Powell said. “DeAnna works really, really hard and has been a tremendous leader here for our kids. I’m really happy for her.”
With an academic scholarship, she’ll head off to EMU to study early childhood education (grades pre-kindergarten through third) with a goal to teach and coach at UCA.
The UCA team went to the National Association of Christian Athletes (NACA) national tournament this spring, but the Lady Crusaders fell in the Championship game against the Home School Athletic Association. Both DeAnna and Emma Roach were named to the National All-Tournament team. The Lady Crusaders ended their 2019 season with a 12-6 record.
Roach played on the softball team from the time she was a sixth-grader and was part of the team that earned the national title in the National Association of Christian Athletes in 2015.