As much as Rodriguez loves the game, she was prepared to hang up her cleats and direct her full attention toward fulfilling her goal of a career in dentistry. While she planned on continuing to play travel ball with the Delta Diamond 18 Gold team through the end of this summer and perhaps attempt to make the team at Cal State East Bay as a walk-on, she had all but accepted that her days suiting up as a student athlete were coming to a close.
All of that changed on a trip to Colorado with her Delta Diamond squad, when a scout from the University of Missouri - Kansas City saw her play in an All-Star game and got the ball rolling in the school's recruitment effort.
Rodriguez had never heard of the school, but looked it up online and found out that it was a Division 1 university. It just so happens that they also boast one of the top dentistry programs in the country and they offered her a scholarship.
And not only will Rodriguez be afforded the opportunity to play as a freshman, she's already penciled in as the team's starting catcher for the 2008 season.
"That's a huge thing," Rodriguez said of the school's Division 1 status. "They were a strong academic school before they brought athletics up, so they're still really focused on academics before athletics. When I found that out I was like, 'Wow! That's amazing!' There couldn't be anything more that I could want."
Within a matter of a few short weeks, Rodriguez's feelings regarding her softball career had come full circle, from acceptance of its passing to a renewed enthusiasm to excel at the highest level.
Her recent commitment to Missouri has rekindled Rodriguez's passion for the sport, which she admits waned some during the high school season. She felt that she faced stiffer competition competing with the Delta Diamonds than she did at Liberty, where she felt softball was viewed more as a recreational activity than a vigorously competitive sport, and she's looking forward to competing against Division 1 college athletes whose entire existence revolves around school and softball.
"I was kind of at a point where if I felt like, 'If I play, great - I love playing softball. But if I don't, then I'm not going to be heartbroken,'" she said. "Now I'm really glad that I've got this chance to stick with competitive softball."