Rice, Rice Baby: Softball coach-player sister duo embody the Cavalier spirit

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

If you have been to a Callaway softball game in the last couple of years, odds are you have seen two freckle-faced strawberry blonde haired girls in the dugout, one barking out commands and offering inspiration, one conversing with her friends and hyping up her teammates.

These two are the Rice sisters — Skylar and Savannah. Skylar holds a coaching position with the Cavs while younger sister Savannah laces up her cleats and suits up in red and black.

“When she decided to be a teacher, I started to think ‘what if she would be a high school teacher and be my coach?’” Savannah said. “I remember thinking that in sixth grade but had no idea it would actually happen.”

What was a brief thought on the mind of a young sixth grader eventually turned into reality for the sister duo.

“At first, I was like, ‘wait what?’” Savannah said about finding out Skylar would be one of her coaches. “At first, I thought it would be easy, but then we got out there and she started treating my like a coach would.”

Skylar is in just her second year as a head coach. 

“She aksed me if she had to call me coach Rice , and I told her no, but I told her she was still going to show me respect out here,” Skylar said. 

She missed a fair amount of time with the team last season as she worked on her masters degree, but this season she has been there every step of the way and feels a more integral part of the staff this year.

The sisters share a tight bond, but on the diamond Skylar means business.

“She is stern and knows when I need to do something and when she needs to come talk to me,”  Savannah said. “She also knows when to approach me in a nicer way.”

Skylar followed by saying, “I know her potential, and I know how good she is.” 

They rarely butt heads in the dugout, but sometimes Skylar steps in when her younger sister is not performing up to her standards. 

“That one picture that was on the website of me talking to her was actually me getting on her,” Skylar said as they shared a laugh. “Sometimes she is just out there in lalaland. 

“I thought it was so fun that everybody was like ‘oh my gosh, that picture is so sweet’ and it was actually of me getting on to her.”

One of the aspects of Savannah’s game that stands out to Skylar is her coach-ability. Savannah is quick to take criticism.

“When somebody is getting on to her, she usually knows what she was doing wrong,” Skylar said. “She doesn’t take it personally.”

This year the dynamics have changed even more with Skylar being apart of the softball team day in and day out this year and Savannah taking on an even bigger role this season.

There is more give and take between the two as they grow older and more comfortable in the roles they occupy. 

A major part of their dynamic shifting a bit is the fact that Savannah can drive herself home after a bad game and does not have to hear her older sister nitpick her game.

“Now, I can drive, but last year she would tell me everything I need to work on,” Savannah said with a chuckle. 

Being a part of the same softball teams at Callaway feels like a full circle moment for the duo. Skylar — a 2018 graduate of Callaway — signed to play softball at the University of West Georgia. 

Skylar always felt a calling to come home to Callaway.

“I felt like once I decided I wanted to be a teacher, I wanted to be at Callaway,” Skylar said. “It is where I feel the most comfortable. 

“I felt like me being a young, new teacher and coach, I wanted to be somewhere comfortable.”

Savannah can still remember coming to watch her big sister suit up in red and black for Callaway and being a Cavalier holds a special place in heart as well.

“Growing up seeing her games and coming to her registration night, I got to know most of the teachers and students,” Savannah said. “This is a place where I can feel comfortable going up to just about anyone and talking with them about my problems.

“It just feels like a family here.”

While they have both suited up for the Cavaliers, they have called different positions home on the mound. Savannah regularly locks down a middle infield spot but can also play in the outfield.

Skylar played first base and pitcher with a bit of outfield. 

the age gap between the two meant that they could never suit up on the same teams together. But whether it was fate, circumstance or the calling of the Callaway family, the two have found their way on to the same team together.