• Lalo Mata

Rock Chalk Rodriguez

Written By: Lalo Mata                                                                                                       

Published: July 4, 2020

Miranda Rodriguez

Rock Chalk Rodriguez

Rock Chalkin’ Rodriguez has made the decision to return to the Jayhawk softball program for one last ride next year. 

Miranda Rodriguez comes from a family of ballplayers as her father, Rudy, played for Long Beach State’s baseball team as a shortstop, and Miranda’s younger brother, Rudy, was apart of Elk Grove’s baseball program the past four years as a middle infielder. 

Coming from Elk Grove led Miranda to continue her softball career at Cosumnes River College where she would lead the team with 67 hits and a .424 batting average as a freshman. 

This powerful season at CRC brought on the University of Kansas where she would start at shortstop for part of the season and hitting 9th in the lineup during the second year of her college career. Following her sophomore campaign came the return of her junior year where she would compete at second base for 43 games out of the 51 games during junior year.

Senior year was as confusing as ever where she would plan to finish her final season during the 2020 year. Within the 26 short games in the spring, Miranda started every game at second base with a .300 batting average and a .375 on-base percentage. 

What advice would you give to younger softball players?

“My advice to younger softball players would be to play hard and have fun! I’ve had this game taken from me a few times before so I can attest to the fact that the time you have with this game is precious. You only get to play for so long so go out every day and play it like your last. Enjoy every moment whether it be during a game or at practice, on a long road trip or in the hotels...embrace it all. At times the game will get tough, it will push you down and tell you ‘you aren’t good enough’ but in times like that remember why you started playing and always play for the LOVE of the game!

So another piece of advice when it comes to recruiting would be staying persistent and don’t worry about “being annoying.” College coaches get tons of emails a day so the more they see your name the more they know of your interest!”

A good piece of information from Miranda is to always love the game you play because you never know when it’ll be taken away from you and for how long.

What are some of the toughest parts of being recruited for college?

“The toughest part for me when it came to recruiting had to do with timing. I dealt with an injury going into my senior year of high school and had still not signed a letter of intent so I went to Cosumnes River Junior College for my first year. From there I struggled to get noticed because while I was working to get recruited those same coaches were in the middle of their seasons with their current team.  So persistence was key and ultimately what helped me end up at the University of Kansas.”

Who has had the biggest impact on your career?

“The person who has had the biggest impact on my playing career would have to be my dad, Rudy Rodriguez III. He gave me a ball, a bat and I never looked back. I can still remember him switching me to the left side of the plate even though I insisted on being a righty (long story short, he won. I bat left-handed). He was a shortstop so it was only natural I ended up in the middle infield. He was also a junior college kid like myself, starting at American River. Then moved on to play at Long Beach State, including two CWS appearances in ‘91 and ‘93. So growing up and hearing all the stories he had to tell about his experiences with the game made me want to do the same thing that much more. But better of course!”

Miranda’s family is full of great players from big Rudy as a Dirtbag and little Rudy with the Herd as a sweet-swinging lefty who plays up the middle. 

What does it mean to have your senior season pushed back a year?

“Having my senior season pushed back was not ideal. I was starting to figure out my plans post-graduation and that was suddenly put to a halt and I was faced with a very difficult decision. Luckily it was always in my plan to attend graduate school but still, I was forced to re-evaluate a lot. There were a number of things that needed to fall into place in order to make this 5th-year work. But God-willing, all the pieces to the puzzle fell right into place and I was able to accept my 5th year and compete as a Jayhawk for another season.”

We look forward to the season Miranda gets to have in the 2021 season as a 5th-year.

What are your plans after your last season?

“Once my softball playing days have concluded I will have a semester left in finishing up my Master’s degree in Sport Management. I also plan to stay around the game and get into coaching wherever the opportunity might present itself.”

Does the extended offseason impact your team in any way? How?

“I believe this extended offseason has made my team hungry. We were playing really well up until the cancellation of the season so I think it’s lit a fire and we are ready to get back to work when the time is right.

It’s also important to note that my team is very scattered throughout the US, some went home while others stayed out in Lawrence. So this means Zoom calls and personal workouts. With that comes accountability. Without the ability to come together and work out, it is important to the future success of our program that we are each doing our job to stay in shape and keep our skills up to par. When we get back to campus we will hit the ground running so everyone needs to do their job to make sure they are ready.”

As we are still a long way from spring season we can count on Miranda to stay focused and take an even bigger role in the Jayhawks return.