BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Elyssa Stenger first had dreams of being a star pitcher at Central Catholic.
She admits she really didn’t want to be a catcher.
“But my (youth softball) coach asked if I wanted to start catching. To me that was a sign I wasn’t a good pitcher,” Stenger said.
Pitching may not have been her thing but catching certainly is. In fact, it’s in her family bloodline.
Stenger followed in the football steps of her older sister Kayla, a 2019 Central Catholic grad. She she took the catching reigns from her sister.
Amazingly, this year marks the eighth straight season a Stenger girl has been the Saints everyday varsity catcher.
“I kind of took that role. Once (Kayla) got to high school it was going to be eight straight years (behind the plate),” said Stenger. “It’s been exciting having her be my role model, to step up after she graduated and finish that role of being a catcher eight straight years.”
Jeff Schade has been the Saints coach for every game during this Stenger streak.
“They are the epitome of being a Central Catholic Saint,” Schade said of the Stenger sisters. “As catchers, they are leaders. They show up every day. I’m going to miss Elyssa when they she’s gone. They are darn good catchers.”
The Saints are down to their final few weeks of an eight-year run of having a Stenger behind the plate. Elyssa, who will play college softball at Illinois Wesleyan, is thankful to keep the family name in the lineup to the end of her high school career.
“I’m glad I get to continue our name for a few more games. I love that (Kayla) had an impact on me, this team, this school,” Stenger said. “To be able to play under her name is great.”