SOFTBALL: Herscher’s Morgan Scivally is back, but with a different outlook
HERSCHER — Softball doesn’t define who Herscher’s Morgan Scivally is, but it’s helped shape her into the person she’s become.
Herscher’s flame throwing senior ace has been striking out batters and bringing the heat ever since she was eight years old.
But she wasn’t always throwing gas. Her journey in the sport she loves started at the shortstop position.
“It wasn’t bad, but I was the worst shortstop,” Scivally said laughing. “Myself and (fellow Herscher senior) Chloe (Jefferson) never wanted to play travel ball as kids because it’s too serious and we always wanted it to be fun. But as I got older I wanted to keep practicing because I fell in love with softball.
“So one day we needed a pitcher for a game and I volunteered. It turned out I wasn’t too bad and it just stuck. It was around 10 years old I noticed I was better because I was bigger than everyone else so that made it even more fun.”
Scivally and company made it to the National Championship in South Carolina during 10u softball, and that put an early spotlight on her as a player to watch for in the coming years.
And with the improvements she continued making through travel ball, that also meant calls from colleges recruiting her as a middle school prospect.
While the calls poured in through her coaches, Scivally already made up her made where she wanted to go. Or at least where she didn’t want to go at the time.
“Once I started to get recruited, I always told my dad that I wanted to go far away and not be anywhere near here,” Scivally said. “But he always told me that he wanted me to go to the University of Illinois. I resisted so much at the time and the recruitment process was completely overwhelming.”
She took some official visits to different college from Illinois to the University of Wisconsin, and it was during the end of her visit at Wisconsin that she made up her mind.
“My family is the most important thing in my life,” Scivally said. “I already had it made up in my mind that I wasn’t going to Illinois. But once I stepped on campus, I fell in love. I ended up going on an unofficial visit to Wisconsin and it was great. I was front row of their football game and met the football coach.
“But the whole time I was there, I just kept thinking ‘I’m going to U of I’. My dad and I didn’t even stay the entire football game since I made up my mind. When you know, you just know.”
She was ready to commit that night, so she made the call to Illinois softball coach Tyra Perry. Only problem was Perry didn’t answer ... for two days.
Perry eventually answered Scivally’s call and locked up her commitment to the Fighting Illini as just a freshman in high school.
“Coach Perry was one of the main reasons why I committed so early,” Scivally said. “I want to play for her so bad. She’s awesome and I can’t wait to play for her.”
With her future plans already locked in as a freshman, she prepared to begin her tenure as a Herscher Tiger.
Following two fruitful seasons in the circle, she endured a setback last season when a cyst developed on her wrist that required surgery.
Initially she was told she wouldn’t miss any time and that she’d be healed in four days. Well, four days turned into six months which forced her to miss most of the season.
“It was devastating, I was so upset when I heard I was out for six months,” Scivally said. “It forced me to take a step back and turn the time off into a positive. But it was tough because I felt so bad for our seniors. We had a great senior class who had such an impact, and not just on our team. Everyone knew who those core of seniors were and they helped my game so much.”
But her time off also gave her time to think and reflect on what the game of softball truly meant to her.
It also gave her perspective on everything ranging life lessons to family and who she’s truly playing for.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of family health issues and both of my brothers have battled cancer, but softball has always been that one escape for me,” Scivally said. “It’s taught me to appreciate what I get to do and it gives me a purpose as cheesy as it sounds. We rolled Steven Stone, who has cerebral palsy, onto the field after our win against B-B and it shows how fortunate I am to play.
“This time last year, my hand was in a cast and I couldn’t pick up a ball. But it’s moments like that with Steven which helped reinstall the love of the game back in me. I play for them.”
That love of the game showed itself in Herscher’s season opener when she tossed a no-hitter and struck out six batters in the Tigers’ 18-0 victory over Mahomet-Seymour.
Not that there was ever a doubt, but she’s officially back.
And so are the Tigers.
“That feeling of getting the first game out of the way made me feel like I can breathe again,” Scivally said. “I get nervous and overthink every single pitch. There’s a lot of expectations from this team and from us seniors.
“We don’t know how this season we’ll turn out, but we’ll give it 100 percent every game.”