Tennessee softball’s phenomenal 2023 season came to an end Monday night when Florida State knocked off the Lady Vols in the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series.
The loss not only ended one of Tennessee’s best seasons in program history but the legendary career of Tennessee pitcher Ashley Rogers. After five years as one of the best pitchers in the SEC, Rogers said her goodbye to Tennessee following the loss.
“As I step off the field for the last time I’m feeling a lot of emotions obviously,” Rogers said in her final postgame press conference. “But the ones that I feel the most are a lot of gratitude and a lot of love and a lot of pride for being able to wear Tennessee across my chest and I don’t know if you guys know but I’m a Tennessee native. I grew up an hour from Knoxville and being able to represent my home state and the team that I grew up cheering for has been an absolute dream come true.”
An Athens, Tennessee native, Rogers posted a 79-24 record and 1.51 ERA in her career. Rogers saved her best collegiate season for her last, posting a 20-1 record and 0.92 ERA in 144 innings pitched. The right-handed star was a First Team All-SEC selection this season.
But in her final press conference, Rogers discussed the people at Tennessee that made her time in Knoxville so special.
“I’m just so thankful that Karen (Weekly) took a chance on me a sophomore, kind of nobody, in high school,” Rogers said. “The impact every person that I’ve come into contact with at Tennessee has just had a forever impact on my life and has just pushed me as a person, as a player and just all around and as a student. What wearing the orange has meant to me and my family is just unspeakable.”
Rogers love for Tennessee goes deep and the Lady Vol legend reflected on her late father and what it meant to her and her family for her to wear the orange-and-white and represent Tennessee.
“My father who passed away when I was 16 was the biggest Tennessee fan,” Rogers said. “He was laid to rest in a Tennessee orange shirt and has a power T on his headstone and I just think that says the most about what Tennessee has meant to me.”
Check out the full answer below.
Ashley Rogers gives an emotional response on what being a Lady Vol means to her as her time at UT comes to an end.
Must watch: pic.twitter.com/BM4uHs1z6c
— Karthik Venkataraman (@KarthikV_) June 6, 2023