High school sports rivalries can be mean and nasty, but once the season is over and the school year has concluded, those same rivals can also be friends. That is exactly how things are for Mark Twain's Mackenzie Grossmann as well Palmyra's Liz Stansberry and Alexis VanNostrand.
The girls have been playing traveling softball together since they were eight years old. The three started right here in Hannibal with the Silver Streaks. This summer, the three girls teamed up with the Worth Prospects out of St. Louis and played traveling softball together on a team that finished the summer 50-14-1.
Grossmann, Stansberry, and VanNostrand were the only three girls on the team not from the St. Louis area.
"It was kind of funny because (the rest of the team) is from the city," Stansberry said. "They don't really understand that we are from small towns. We always took a whole bunch of crap about how we only had gas stations in our area ... but it was also really cool because there is not usually a whole bunch of talent out of small towns. So we were representing where we come from."
The girls spent time traveling to Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kansas, Virginia, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Arkansas.
"I really love traveling softball because its a high level of competition," Grossmann said. "This summer we went to a lot of different states and played teams from all over the United States. I always feel like playing all these teams helps me get better because they are so good and we were even able to get fifth place at nationals, so that was a big deal."
Grossmann is a pitcher and finished with a 32-6 record with 202 strikeouts. VanNostrand was behind the dish as Grossmann's battery mate. VanNostrand picked off 48 base runners while hitting at a .432 clip. Stansberry manned the hot corner and had a sparkling fielding percentage of .965 while reaching base as a batter .489 percent of the time.
The girls' team, Worth Prospects, traveled to the ASA/USA National Tournament in Roanoke, Virginia. Out of 89 teams, Worth Prospects went 7-2 and finished in fifth place.
"It was very enjoyable," Stansberry said. "Everyone got along and it was simply a great atmosphere to be around. We had an amazing season, being one of the most successful select teams I have ever been a part of. Our competiveness was outrageous and that definitely contributed to our success. I've met life-long friends over the past two years with this team and I'm really going to miss playing for the Worth Prospects."
While Grossmann will be heading back out on the diamond later this month with the Lady Tigers for her senior year, Stansberry and VanNostrand will have to wait until the spring to get back on the diamond. Grossmann has already verbally committed to Morehead State upon graduation at the end of the coming school year.
"Playing with Liz and Lex was great," Grossmann said. "I thought we made a good team and we definitely made great friendships. I'm going to be really sad that I won't be playing with them anymore, but I will be playing against Liz in college and I am definitely excited for that!"
Both Palmyra girls graduated high school back in May and are off to college this year. Stansberry will be playing softball for Tennessee State while VanNostrand is heading to Truman State. College softball is played in the spring though, unlike high school softball which is played in the fall.
"I am sad that I am leaving (Grossmann) and Lex," Stansberry said. "Lex and I have played together for ever and so have Kenzie and I. We built a great friendship. I am excited for (Grossmann) to go to college and when we play each other, it is going to be great seeing her because we are both going so far away. It will be fun and a great catch-up when we play each other."