Ariel Trice wouldn’t let her dream fade.
Ariel and her parents Nate and Brandi Trice were saddened and frustrated when a couple of opportunities for Ariel to play college softball evaporated after her graduation from Millington Central High School in May. But the Trice family kept making calls, sending out videos and making visits.
The entire time Ancilla College in Donaldson, Ind., had an eye on Trice because her cousin recent signing with the Charger Basketball team. After a visit to the campus just south of South Bend, Ariel was offered a scholarship and chance to continue her softball career. Trice held her official signing ceremony on July 1 in the MCHS Library.
“It means a lot and it shows I’ve worked really hard and I deserve this,” Trice said. “I am ready for the challenge.”
Trice started earning her spot with the Chargers her freshman year at Millington. Lady Trojans Head Coach Rick Hearn gave the fresh face Trice a chance to play third base for the varsity team because of her quick reflexes and canon arm.
Growing up on the west coast, Trice entered the Lady Trojan program with a solid skill set. With Nate serving in the Navy, Ariel was born in Lemoore, Calif. She started playing softball in Hawaii under the guidance of her mother.
“Since I played in high school and I did play in college, Ariel took an interest in it,” Brandi said. ‘So I would just work with her at an early age. It did help that she was motivated too. If she didn’t show any interest, she wouldn’t be where she is today. I just helped her learn the basic fundamentals.”
Ariel grew in the game and her new surroundings. The family came to Millington in 2003 with Nate being deployed many times over the past 11 years. Brandi said those experiences toughen her daughter up.
“A lot of hard work on her part got her here,” she said. “She’s not very vocal on the field but she tries to let her leadership show through her play. I think over the last couple of years, she’s kind of come into her own through that way.
“When you go to a new place and have to start all over, that’s hard,” Brandi added. “You have to be a special kind of kid to be a Military Brat.”
One of the most consistent things in Ariel’s life is softball. And once Hearn saw her play he knew he had a special player.
“Ariel is a girl who likes to play,” Hearn said. “She did everything she could to get herself ready. Her parents helped out in finding her a place to play. That’s important, wanting to play. I know for sure Ariel wants to play at the next level and she’s worked at it. I’m so glad things worked out for her and she has a lot of potential ahead of her.”
Hearn said the Chargers have signed a player full of potential at the plate and in the field.
“Her strength, she’s a strong hitter,” he noted. “She’s got good lower body strength. When she hits it, she hits it a long way. I’m sure they’re going to work with her and get her more consistent at making contact. She definitely has potential as a hitter.
“And they’ll work on her range,” Hearn continued. “She’s definitely capable at any position in the infield. She has an accurate arm. She has a lot of upside and her best days are ahead of her.”
Brandi said she happy her daughter has the chance to grow her game at the next level by not giving up on her dream.
“It means the world to her,” she said. “She always wanted to play at the next level. That’s always been her goal. To represent Millington makes it more special, a small town. Nobody really ever heard of Millington up there. They’ve heard of Memphis. She’s proud to represent Millington.
“I am proud of her,” Brandi added. “I’m very proud of her. I know it means so much to her and it means so much to us as well. Not only does she get to play softball at the next level, but she gets to continue her education.”
Hearn noted many Lady Trojans have had the chance to continue their education because of softball. The veteran Skipper said Trice’s signing continues a tradition and gives future Millington Softball players something to inspire to.
“Through the years for 12 years now, we’ve always had people to sign,” he concluded. “It’s a testament to our program that we play good teams and face good competition and people get seen. That’s the whole part. We try to expose them to good competition and good tournaments. It’s like a tradition that we have players playing in college.” During this past season Trice hit .429 with a .519 on base percentage and .622 slugging percentage. She was named to the First Team All-District both her junior and senior years and was “Among the Stars” in The Millington Star for three straight seasons.
Ariel Trice wouldn’t let her dream fade.