Rubio signs NLI with D-II Bobcats

Rubio signs NLI with D-II Bobcats

Pawtucket resident and Davies Tech softball player Alaynah Rubio proudly shows off her West Virginia Wesleyan College sweatshirt. Rubio, who also played for the Patriots’ soccer and basketball teams, batted .438 last spring. After she graduates from high school, she will join the Bobcats’ Division II program and study graphic design.
Pawtucket resident, Davies senior plans to continue softball career at West Virginia Wesleyan College

PAWTUCKET – For the past couple of decades, several high school softball players from Pawtucket have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their careers at Division I or II collegiate programs.

Almost all those players attended either St. Raphael Academy or Tolman High, but this year’s class of signees is featuring a standout from a different school in northern Rhode Island.

Alaynah Rubio, who is a senior middle infielder for Davies Tech, made her collegiate plans official before the COVID-19 pandemic put the state’s high school sports scene on hold when she inked her NLI to West Virginia Wesleyan College, a Division II school in Buckhannon, W.V.

After doing some careful research and consulting with longtime Davies teacher and coach Henry Cabral, head softball coach and athletic director Bob Morris noted that Rubio is the first softball player in school history to receive a Division I or II athletic scholarship.

A four-year starter and a three-year captain for the Patriots, who is also a star on the school’s soccer and basketball teams, Rubio had been looking to continue her playing career at a local school, such as Rhode Island College and Johnson & Wales University, but then the West Virginia school came calling out of the blue.

“They contacted me while I was doing an internship last summer at Hasbro’s toy company,” Rubio noted last Friday. “(Morris) had been talking to them. They were looking for some players and he put my name out there.”

“A bunch of other schools had contacted me, but (my decision) was all dependent on my major whether I’d go or not,” added Rubio, who plans to study graphic design. “And they have a very good program.”

Rubio, who projects to be a center fielder in college, got invited to a recruiting day in early October, and after she received a tour of the campus with some of the other prospects, she took part in a scrimmage with the invitees and some of the players on the Bobcats’ current roster.

“I was so nervous,” she recalled, but added with a laugh. “My fielding was there, but I couldn’t hit at all.”

Nevertheless, Bobcats head coach Steve Warner and his assistants were impressed with Rubio, and she enjoyed the time she spent with the program that week. The financial aid package the school presented Rubio was “a very good one,” and during Davies’ Christmas break, she decided that West Virginia was indeed the place to be.

A First-Team All-Division selection last year, Rubio batted .438 (28-for-64) last year with seven doubles, a pair of triples, 14 runs batted in, 13 runs scored, and as many stolen bases.

Of course, the Patriots were appearing in Division II last season after reaching the D-III finals in 2018. As a sophomore in the league’s lower division, Rubio batted .531 (26-for-49) with two home runs, 27 RBIs, 33 runs scored, 17 stolen bases, and a .657 on-base percentage.

Facing tougher pitching in D-II “was definitely a change,” admitted Rubio, who during the summer, plays for the U18 club of the Massachusetts Titans program, which is based out of Somerset, Mass. “We were so used to (the pitching being) not as fast or consistent.”

As far as being a captain, “Alyanah is a caring, compassionate leader,” offered Morris, who reported that Rubio was selected the RIIL Student-Athlete of the Month in February. “She gives everything she has and leaves it all out on the field.”

“She is a natural leader who puts her teammates and the team first,” Morris said. “This is evident when I have had to move her (in the field) to help the team. She never complained, sighed, or sulked. She just says, ‘Okay, coach, I got you,’ and goes out and gives 100 percent. And players will also come up to her and ask for help, which she is more than willing to do.”

Off the field and in the classroom, Rubio’s also been a standout, a high honor student who gets straight A’s and has earned the respect and admiration of her teachers.

“If I could clone Alaynah, I would,” noted English teacher Cara Mathers. “She is not only a conscientious and dedicated student, but she is a fabulous human being as well. She would never hesitate to assist a struggling classmate, using her trademark humor to buffer any sense of uncomfortableness. She is a true gem and so deserving of happiness and success.”

Rubio and Morris were hoping to celebrate her NLI signing with a signing ceremony at Davies before the start of the Patriots’ Division II season, but the pandemic has kept Rubio, her classmates, and the faculty and administrators off the Lincoln campus for more than a month.

And while she’d like to have a signing ceremony, she’d rather have a high school season to play, as well as a graduation ceremony, a prom, and the other events that celebrate the culmination of a successful and memorable four years of high school.

“If we don’t graduate in June, our school will schedule (the ceremony) on a date in August because they want us to cross the stage,” she noted. “Our prom is already scheduled in August.”

And as for her senior season, “I talk to (Morris) frequently, and I told him, ‘If we can play just one game, it will be better than nothing at this point,” she said. “Just one game, to finish (my career) out with these girls.”

Playing in Division II last spring after spending the last two seasons in D-III, Davies Tech middle infielder Alaynah Rubio earned All-Division honors by batting .438 (28-for-64) and collecting seven doubles, a pair of triples, 14 runs batted in, 13 runs scored, and as many stolen bases.