Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
With a smack of the bat, Renaissance High’s Cassandra Nelson lifted the ball over the fence and started her team toward a 4-3 victory for its seventh consecutive Detroit Public School League girls’ softball title.
“That home run felt awesome,’’ said Nelson, the PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week. “I honestly didn’t know I had that type of power.”
The senior first baseman came to the plate with a runner on base and the Phoenix trailing 2-0 in the third inning. The crowd at the University of Detroit Mercy’s Buysse Field let out a roar with what it saw next.
Nelson is in her second year as a Renaissance starter and is called “Cassie” by teammates. She joined the PSL’s top girls’ softball program when she transferred from CMA after her sophomore year. Coach Garrard Taylor’s Phoenix has reigned as league champs 12 of the last 14 years.
“The program here is great,’’ Nelson said. “I love all my coaches. Even when it’s raining, we still have practice. They’re always looking out for us, calling coaches at universities trying to hook the seniors up (with college scholarships). I’m grateful for all of them.”
Nelson hasn’t finalized her decision, but she is looking at a scholarship offer from Kentucky State to continue her softball career. She plans to major in math and/or physics.
“I’m really good with numbers,’’ she said. “I have never done very well in English or foreign languages, but I’ve always done well with math and science, good enough to teach it and tutor it’’ she said. “Hopefully, I’ll be a physics professor at a university.”
Nelson says the experience of playing Renaissance softball has helped her prepare for the future.
“I will forever take away discipline as the lesson from playing with this team,’’ she said. “Attitudes are not allowed and leadership is required.”
Nelson will be acknowledged with all the other weekly honorees at the first annual Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learners of the Year Awards, sponsored by McDonald’s, Thursday, June 9 from 5 p.m. -7 p.m. at the DPS Welcome Center. “I feel great about that honor,’’ she said. “I’m proud of myself.”