Frontier’s Macy Ring makes it official, signs with AIC

  • Frontier’s Macy Ring knocks in two runs on a single against Hoosac Valley during the 2019 WMass Div. 2 softball semifinal at Sortino Field in Amherst. Ring will play collegiately at Division II American International College. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier shortstop Macy Ring drops to field a grounder against Hoosac Valley during the 2019 WMass Div. 2 softball semifinal at Sortino Field in Amherst. Ring will play collegiately at Division II American International College. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/16/2020 6:06:53 PM

There was never a doubt in Macy Ring’s mind that she’d be playing softball in college.

The Frontier Regional School shortstop grew up on the softball fields, watching her older sisters play and dreaming about having the opportunity to get out and take the field herself. She began playing when she was 12 and fell in love with the sport, quickly turning into one of the stars on a talented Red Hawk squad. She helped lead them to a Western Massachusetts Division 2 title-game appearance in 2018.

Now a senior, Ring won’t be stopping any time soon. She signed her National Letter of Intent to play softball at Division II American International College in Springfield next year.

“It’s been my goal to play softball at the collegiate level,” Ring said. “It’s something I’ve been working toward my whole life. When I was younger, softball was such a big thing for my family because all my sisters played. There’s a quote in my family that I’m born on the softball field because I was a newborn baby watching my sisters play in tournaments. If you go to a softball field and see a baby in the tent, that was me. Even before I picked up a ball, I knew all the strategies, I knew exactly where the ball was supposed to go just from watching.”

Ring is the first member of her family to play softball in college, and said she couldn’t be more excited to be joining the Yellow Jacket program. She committed to AIC a few months ago, but made it official Wednesday by signing on the dotted line. She said she was hit with many emotions after making it a done deal.

“It was a whirlwind of emotions,” Ring said. “I was excited, I was nervous, it was everything put into one. It was everything I’ve been working for since I was 12 years old put into fruition. It impacted me insanely. When I got my letter that I was going to play for them a few months ago, I opened it and cried because it was finally happening for me and everything I had worked for. It felt amazing.”

Frontier softball coach Gary Deane said Ring’s love and passion for the game is obvious to anyone around her, and having a player like her on his team has been a blessing.

Whether it is getting the team together in the offseason or bringing energy to the field, Deane knew he could always rely on Ring to do everything in her power to be the best player she could be.

“She is more into softball and loves softball so much that it would make anybody love softball even if they didn’t know much about it,” Deane said. “She bleeds the dirt 12 months a year. That’s contagious to have on the team. She is gung-ho all the time, a great teammate and would do anything for the team. She runs captain’s practice if she needs to, she plays on several other offseason teams, she was traveling anywhere to do anything over the summer and playing in every league she could.”

Ring was recruited by seven schools, but knew early on in the process that AIC was the place for her. Once she met Yellow Jacket coach Shalise Tolentino, she knew it was the school she wanted to play for as Tolentino brought the kind of energy and vibe she was searching for in a collegiate coach.

Luckily for Ring, she took her first tour of the school before the pandemic hit, and was able to get a feel for the campus and what it would look like when she got there. She quickly found herself right at home in Springfield.

“The coach, she’s amazing,” Ring said. “She’s such a strong female presence and I love that. From the moment I went to a showcase and got to talk to her, there was an instant connection there. When I went to the actual campus, I fell in love with the place. It felt like a home area.

“The first time I went, COVID hadn’t hit yet in January,” she continued. “The second time I went for my official tour during COVID. That was obviously very hard, there were no students there, it was just me and coach and the field hockey coach. Even without all the students being there, the dean came up and talked to me which was insane. Even without the students there, it felt like a family.”

Though her love for softball is fierce, Ring’s main focus is getting a good education as she plans on being a physician assistant.

One of the main draws she had to Tolentino was their shared passion for education, with the coach assuring her that her studies came before academics. That, combined with a great experience meeting the team, made the decision to sign on at AIC an easy one for Ring.

“It was a pretty instant connection,” Ring said. “Even the team, it was an instant connection. I went to the clinic and everyone was nice and I had never met a softball coach who valued education over softball as much as (Tolentino) did. That’s a big thing for me. She valued education over everything. Softball comes second and she wants me to have success in every aspect of my life and told me there’s life after softball and you have to be able to function in society.”

With no high school softball season in 2020, Ring’s recruiting mostly came from her travel team, the New England Pride. With junior year being important for recruiting, not having the high school season was disappointing and stressful. Ring was unable to put as much tape out as she normally would have.

She found a way through it though, remaining flexible and playing in any tournament she could to showcase her talents in hopes of receiving college offers. She felt being a versatile player capable of playing anywhere on the field made her attractive to college coaches.

Besides the recruiting aspect, Ring said she missed being around her teammates and not playing the sport she loved last spring at Frontier.

“It was very nerve-wracking having to go through the mental strain of not playing the sport you love the most and not having that consistency,” Ring said. “Ever since I was 12, I’ve had softball seven days a week, every weekend. It was weird going from that to practicing on your own and not having a team to go to or having games on Saturday and Sunday or Gary Deane hitting ground balls to us. It was such a change and not having a high school season was really sad because I know the seniors last year were looking forward to the season especially for Frontier where we thought we were going to have a strong year. It hurt missing out on those.”

Ring will be joined on the Yellow Jacket team next season by Turners Falls’ senior Taylor Murphy, who also signed to play at AIC next year. The two are excited to get together and become teammates.

“I’m really excited about it,” Ring said. “Taylor and I have known each other for a long time. We’ve kept in contact with each other throughout the whole process. We’re thinking about working out together to get ready for the season so we’re prepared.”

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