Ross High School senior Ally Ivey talks about signing a national letter of intent to play softball at Loyola University in Chicago.

National Signing Day: Ross catcher Ivey thrilled to commit to Loyola

The Ross High School senior catcher finalized her commitment to the Loyola University softball program by signing a national letter of intent at RHS.

“You wait so long just to sign a piece of paper that can change your life,” Ivey said. “I have to take a breath every five seconds just to make sure I’m still living. I’m still shaking. I can’t stop smiling. It’s literally a dream come true. Anything that you can imagine, I’m feeling it right now.”

Ivey was smitten with the Chicago school during her official visit and wasn’t in the car very long on the way home when she called and made her verbal commitment.

“We weren’t even out of Chicago yet and I called them back,” Ivey said. “I bought a hat, a sweatshirt and sweatpants. I was wearing the whole gear. As soon as I got it, I put it on.

“They just made me feel at home. Every person there greeted me with a smile. You just walk somewhere and know that’s the place you want to be for four years.”

She’ll catch or play first base at Loyola. The Ramblers, under the direction of Jeff Tylka, are a Division I program that competes in the Missouri Valley Conference and went 21-28 last season.

Ivey has been a force during her three seasons at Ross, hitting .540 with 31 doubles, 14 triples, nine home runs and 102 RBIs.

The Rams made it to the Division II state tournament last spring under Paul Fernandez, who resigned in July after 25 seasons at the helm.

“Numbers don’t lie,” Fernandez said. “Ally’s not a slapper or anything like that. She’s just a legit hitter with power. She’s going to set most of the offensive records that we have as far as hitting’s concerned. She reminds me of a lot of different players that I’ve had.

“You could see at a young age the tools that she already possessed, and on top of being naturally gifted, she also worked at it. If she was in one of those states like Kentucky, she probably would’ve been playing since her sixth-grade year on the varsity level.

“People talk about five-tool players. To me, she’s got six or seven tools because she has brains and she has heart. She exuberates leadership. She is very grounded and also wants her teammates to be great. She not only talks the talk, she walks the walk.”

New Ross coach Anna Winters — the former Anna Smith, who owns most of the Rams’ pitching records — is looking forward to coaching Ivey.

“Ally is a great competitor and even better person,” Winters said. “I love the way she plays the game. She’s super intense and a leader on the field. You can tell she loves the game.”

Ivey said she doesn’t think the Ramball atmosphere will change in the Winters era.

“She talked about keeping it family-oriented just like Fern had,” Ivey said. “Fern set a really good base with everybody … alumni and even middle-school kids. We’re all a family. If you play Ross softball, everybody’s part of it.”

Ivey plans to major in biology at Loyola. She received interest from Mid-American Conference schools like Ohio, Kent and Toledo.

Her summer team, the Beverly Bandits, is based in Columbus. The Bandits organization is based in Chicago.

“All of our tournaments are usually up in the Chicago area,” Ivey said. “I also have a lot of family up in Chicago, so it was kind of like a home away from home. That five-hour drive to some people is like, ‘Oh, we have to go five hours.’ But to me and my dad and my mom, it’s like zipping in and zipping out in one day.

“I’d like to say thanks to everybody who’s been a part of my life. It feels awesome to have the friends and support system that I do. For all the little girls or anybody that wants to go play, it’s possible. I grew up in Ross, Ohio. You can come out from the dirts and get on top of the mountain. You just have to put in the hard work.”

Wednesday was a day Ivey won’t soon forget.

“When I first woke up, it felt like my birthday,” she said. “I walked downstairs and my dad made me a cake and everything. It didn’t quite get real until I was sitting in class and I couldn’t focus. I was like, ‘I don’t even care about the new president or anything like that. I’m going to sign a letter, people.’ That’s crazy. It just sneaks up on you.”

National Signing Day Area Commitments

The following area seniors have signed or intend to sign national letters of intent to play college athletics (names were provided by each school):

BASEBALL

Tommy Brosnahan, Lebanon — Ohio

Alex Dodson, Lakota West — Ohio Northern

Kaleb Ford, Fairfield — Longwood (Va.)

Josh Harrison, Lakota West — Wake Technical CC (N.C.)

Eric Hooper, Lakota West — Heidelberg

Jacob Kates, Lakota West — High Point (N.C.)

Jared Kauffman, Fenwick — Eastern Michigan

Nolan Kestner, Lebanon — Defiance

Brock Mathis, Fairfield — Louisville

Noah Maurer, Lakota West — Cedarville

Alssan Ramsby, Lakota West — Northern Kentucky

John Sherman, Lakota East — Morehead State

Nick Taylor, Lebanon — Salem International (W.Va.)

Chase Wullenweber, Lakota West — Tusculum (Tenn.)

BOYS BASKETBALL

Evan Kuhlman, Lakota East — Evansville

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Emma Wright, Talawanda — Grand Valley State (Mich.)

BOYS GOLF

Miles Jena, Fenwick — Ball State

GIRLS LACROSSE

Emily Elstun, Lakota West — Wofford (S.C.)

Emily Polivick, Lakota East — Ursuline (Ohio)

GIRLS SOCCER

Rachel Burgess, Fairfield — Indiana-East

SOFTBALL

Madison Adams, Cincinnati Christian — Asbury (Ky.)

Chloe Allen, Lebanon — Lake Erie (Ohio)

Alexis Arnold, Monroe — Georgetown (Ky.)

Taylor Bramlett, Lakota West — Cincinnati Christian

Megan Brankamp, Lakota West — Georgetown (Ky.)

Ally Ivey, Ross — Loyola (Ill.)

Maddie Koger, Fairfield — Charleston Southern (S.C.)

Rachel Lewis, Lakota East — Northwestern

Shelby Schmitt, Badin — Rio Grande

Alexis Strother, Lebanon — Tennessee-Martin

Jillian Taylor, Monroe — Bethany (W.Va.)

GIRLS SWIMMING/DIVING

Payton Keiner, Cincinnati Christian — Liberty (Va.)

Emma Otten, Fairfield — South Carolina

BOYS TENNIS

Noah Connaughton, Badin — Dayton

BOYS TRACK/CROSS COUNTRY

Zach Birdsall, Fairfield — Northern Kentucky

GIRLS TRACK/CROSS COUNTRY

Meredith Elstun, Lakota West — Ohio

Jessie Hartman, Lebanon — Ohio

VOLLEYBALL

Alexis Adleta, Lakota East — Akron

Haley Bergheger, Lakota West — Georgetown (Ky.)

Edie Brewer, Lakota East — North Carolina A&T

Kennedee Card, Lakota East — Cincinnati Christian

Megan Kaufman, Lakota West — Tennessee-Chattanooga

Maya Krause, Lakota West — Xavier

Jayna Thompson, Fenwick — Louisiana-Monroe

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