By Mitch Silver
She could have been named Lions Club winner in the winter, when as guard and shut-down defender she helped the Garnets’ Girls’ Basketball team to the Section 1 championship and won All-League honors two years in a row.
She also could have earned the honor playing for the Rye High Volleyball team, where she made the All-Section team and was the Most Valuable Player this past season. Her coach, Geri Jones, says of her: “Mara is not just a talented volleyball player, she is so positive it is infectious. This year’s team fought hard in every game and learned to never give up. Mara gives her all every single day at practice and in games; there is no such thing as taking a day off for Mara.”
But Mara Ball did become the Rye Lions Club Athlete of the Month for her play last month on the Varsity Softball team. As the team’s mound ace, Mara has led the Garnets to a 6-0 record, their best start to a season in more than a dozen years.
Explaining why he nominated Mara for the monthly award, Softball Head Coach Alex Tejera offered: “Where do I begin to talk about Mara Ball?! Not only is she a three-sport athlete, she’s a star in all three. Mara has been a starter on varsity softball since she was in 9th grade. She is a terrific leader both on and off the field.
“This year, it has all come together for her. She has started every game this season and has won them all. Her stats are absolutely amazing. She has gone 13 for 20 (.650) at the plate with five doubles, one triple, 12 RBI, five stolen bases, and eight runs scored.
“On the mound, the numbers are even more impressive. She has pitched 31 innings and allowed only 13 hits and three runs (just one of which was earned), she has 51 strikeouts, and her ERA is 0.23.
“As amazing as all her on-field accomplishments are, Mara is an even better person off the field. She is willing to help out her teammates whenever possible and is just an overall terrific person. She is caring, respectful, kind, considerate, confident, and all the while a fierce competitor.”
Mara is just as much a champ in the classroom, a National Honor Society member who’s compiled a 97.83 grade-point average. She said, “I think I like my Calculus and Statistics classes the most. The great thing about mathematics is there’s always an answer. If you apply the right method, you can figure out the puzzle. I think I’m going to major in Finance in college, and math skills will come in handy.”
Mara certainly has the bloodlines of an athlete. “My mother Sarah rowed in college, and my Dad Andy played football and lacrosse for Rye High before playing lacrosse on the national championship team at Syracuse.”
The Lions Club takes in extracurriculars and community service in making its award. Mara is a member of Rye High’s Adopt a U.S. Soldier and Cancer Awareness clubs. She’s volunteered at the Don Bosco Soup Kitchen in Port Chester and served Thanksgiving meals at Our Lady of Refuge Church in the Bronx.
If Covid restrictions permit, the monthly Lions Club winners will be invited to the Lions’ year-end awards dinner at The Osborn. That night, the winner of the vote by the Rye High student body for Athlete of the Year will be announced. This year, the winner could be an athlete for all seasons.