Ash and Scho

Longtime friends Ashley Morrison and Sara Schoenhoft not only bolster the softball team but also build community

I t's October. A field hockey game is under way on grass that was cloaked with frost just hours ago. Through the scuttle of bodies and sticks, two figures appear, in the background, out of season--a pitcher and catcher, alone, slinging an Optic Yellow ball back and forth.

For Ashley Morrison, the pitcher, and Sara Schoenhoft, holding the catcher's glove, softball is never out of season. Nor is their devotion to Kenyon athletics. Ash and Scho, as they're known around campus, are not just relentlessly dedicated athletes in the pure spirit of Division III competition, they're also selfless community builders--key parts of the support system that makes the athletic scene at the College hum along.

"For us, it's all about fun and support," Morrison says. "This is our thing."

That "our" has a history. Morrison and Schoenhoft, both juniors, are longtime friends, who were classmates at the Ursuline Academy of Cincinnati and are roommates at Kenyon. Each can boast of some impressive achievements. Going into 2006, Morrison had pitched her way to a combined record of 13-9 over two years and held the College's season record for doubles (sixteen). Schoenhoft batted .356 in 2005, with thirteen RBIs. Both are two-time all-conference players and two-time members of the National Fastpitch Coaches-Association's Academic All-America team.

But their contribution goes beyond softball statistics and honors. Morrison and Schoenhoft involve themselves in nearly every facet of the athletics department. They've chased down out-of-play balls at soccer games and scored volleyball matches. They've filmed basketball games and sold snacks to raise money. They host recruits and console struggling teammates. On less busy days, they sit in the stands and encourage classmates.

For Morrison and Schoenhoft, the rewards have little to do with wins; they're about relationships. "It's so much more fun to be involved and to cheer on people we know, the people we eat with and go to class with," Schoenhoft says. "Teams here don't have huge fan bases, but the quality of the fans is special and they make it worthwhile."

Morrison and Schoenhoft will definitely enjoy a few more impromptu practices. Whether they hold them in the chill of late fall or during the hectic schedule of spring, they will enjoy each other's company and savor their sport. They'll focus on the ball, Ashley pitching, Sara catching, stitches sharp against the yellow. Then, when they walk off the field, they'll devote themselves to another, deeper stitching.