By Anthony Rhoads
Denise and Chris Coode first met each other on a softball field and now it's come full circle.
Their daughter, Rachel, a Lovejoy High School senior, is now going to play at the collegiate level.
In the 2004 softball season, Coode played a big part in Lovejoy enjoying its most successful season in recent years.
Now, Coode is taking her game to the next level as she has signed a scholarship with Andrew College, a two-year college in Cuthbert.
"I'm excited about it," Coode said. "I really like it when I went down there. The people knew you and cared that you want to be there at their school. I like it; it's out in the country. I'm a country girl so I liked it."
In 2003, Coode helped lead the Lady Wildcats to its first state playoff appearance in several years. She said one of the highlights of her career was beating perennial softball power McIntosh to advance to the state sectionals.
Andrew College head coach Ed Deugan said Coode should be able to contribute to the team right away.
"I think she's got the potential to come in and help us immediately as catcher," Deugan said. "She's got what we need and she's got the potential to develop further."
Lovejoy head coach Kevin Huffstetler added that he was very glad to have had a player like Coode on his team.
"I would have loved to have had a whole team of players just like her," he said.
Coode has been playing the game all her life and first played organized ball at the Forest Park Recreation Department with the Tomboys T-ball team. Her first introduction to fast-pitch softball was at Lovejoy, where she has played all four years.
"It came natural to me," she said.
After her playing days are through, she still wants to be involved in sports and become an athletic trainer.