As the school year winds down, the Cincinnati Reds and the Reds Community Fund are taking time to acknowledge the Reds RBI seniors graduating from high school.
During the 2020 season when so many student-athletes missed out on their senior baseball and softball seasons, the Reds Community Fund introduced its Senior Spotlight series to showcase these players. While the games resumed this year, the RCF wanted to honor their exemplary student-athletes once again by bringing back Senior Spotlights.
This year’s softball seniors were ecstatic about getting to play the game they love once again.
“After the unfortunate circumstances of last year, I was very excited to get back out onto the field for my senior season,” Oak Hills graduate Savannah Dance said. “It was exciting to see all the fans who came back to support us this year, even though we lost out on a season last year.”
Dance, a four-year RBI member, will be attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) this fall. While she won’t be continuing her softball career, the four-year RBI member is just as excited for the next stage of her life at IUPUI where she will study neuroscience.
Four of Dance’s five senior RBI teammates will be moving on to college in the fall. The fifth, Bri Tharps, has elected a different path. Tharps, a six-year RBI member, will be enlisting in the United States Air Force, with the hopes of traveling the world and establishing a career in one of the many avenues offered by the Air Force.
“I’ve always had the military in the back of my mind, but I never really saw myself going this route when I was younger,” Tharps said. “Ever since I was a little girl, my dream was to play softball in college, but after my junior season got taken as a result of COVID-19, there wasn’t really a chance for me to get scouted by any colleges. So I had to come up with an idea that would benefit me in the future, which was enlisting in the military. I did a lot of research on every branch of the military and talked to a lot of recruiters from every branch. I made a final decision that the U.S. Air Force would be the best fit for me and my future.”
While Tharps, Dance and the rest of the seniors are taking different paths after graduation, they will always be connected by Reds RBI and look back fondly at their time with the program for a variety of reasons.
“One of the biggest takeaways is the lifelong friendships, my leadership skills and my public speaking skills,” Dance said.
“I will never forget all the amazing times helping the little ones learn the fundamentals and the fun times of playing softball and baseball,” Tharps added.
Six RBI softball players graduated this spring. Four of the young women have their next destination planned.
- Savannah Dance (Oak Hills High School) -- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
- Morgan Daniels (Boone County High School) -- Eastern Kentucky University
- Alexis Dillingham (Ross High School) -- Ohio University
- Tressie Gambrel (Lakota East High School) -- University of Cincinnati
- Taylor Schweinefus (Anderson High School) -- Starting an Event Planning Business
- Bri Tharps (Highlands High School) -- United States Air Force