Businesses and schools are being shut down, communities are being quarantined and UIL has officially suspended all spring events indefinitely with no guarantees of return. This means softball has come to a screeching halt. Coaches and players are being forced to put down the ball but are holding on to hope that it isn’t for good.
“It’s kind of heartbreaking not knowing if or when I’ll get to play the game I’ve played my whole life again,” senior Vanessa Rater said.
Rater said that all anyone can do at this point is to stay prepared.
“I think we are all going to be a little bit rusty when we get back on the field, but we all know it will be go-time,” Rater said. “I have no doubt we’ll get back into our game.”
The team isn’t allowed to practice together, but individuals can practice fundamentals on their own.
“I’ve been catching my sister, I’ve been hitting off the tee and my dad has been hitting balls to us in the backyard,” Rater said.
She said that she and her teammates are just trying to stay positive and believe that this will all be over soon.
“It’s not over until they say it’s over, so I’m just going to keep pushing myself until we can get back on the field,” Rater said.
Sophomore Maddie Lopez said she is definitely going to miss the seniors next year, no matter if the season does or doesn’t continue.
“I want to be with my team, continue to work hard and keep making memories with the seniors,” Lopez said.
She said that although the break is long and everyone misses each other, they’re still connected.
“The coaches are constantly texting us and reminding us that when all of this is over, we can get back to winning,” Lopez said.
Lopez said that she constantly has a bat or ball in her hand, so she can just get right back out there on the field.
“I’m very blessed to have two more years to play the sport I love, so I need to keep practicing and bettering myself for the future if things don’t work out how we want them to,” Lopez said. “I’m ready to constantly be on the field and hear the sound of metal cleats again.”
Junior Delaini Hanna said that her heart goes out to the seniors because it hurts to know that they are missing some of their best memories right now.
“I’m definitely taking this break really hard because the seniors have put in so much work to not get to finish out their last season,” Hanna said. “This is a really strong season, and it’s tough not seeing how far we can really go, especially starting out the season beating Windthorst by 10.”
Hanna said she has no doubt that everyone is staying ready, which she is also doing.
“I know my team better than anyone, and I know they are trying to stay in shape and practice for when we come back,” Hanna said. “My parents and I have gone out to our pasture and hit the ball a few times, and I’ve been at the track trying to stay in shape.”
Hanna said that everyone is keeping in contact and has been very supportive.
“I’ve checked on my teammates throughout the break, and our coaches have been reminding us to keep our heads up,” Hanna said. “My parents have definitely been my biggest supporters in the stands, and since we can’t play, they’ve definitely carried that over to the house to make sure I keep a positive mentality.”
Head-softball coach Mallory Mooney said she is just trying not to think about it too much.
“My plans for if we get to play again is to try and hit the ground running. We will continue with practice like we never stopped,” Coach Mooney said.
Senior Kat Hand said she speaks for the team when she said they are planning on finishing the season, no doubt.
“I don’t think the break will affect us very much because we are all still working on our skills and will be ready for return,” Hand said.
She said that everyone is really focusing on staying prepared and staying positive, and it’s extremely hard not to be playing right now since it’s her senior year.
“Softball is something I wait for all year, so we are all counting on getting to step on the field again,” Hand said. “Through this I’ve learned to play every game like it’s our last, to stay strong and trust in God.”
Coach Mooney said she sees another bright side to the suspension that would benefit the team.
“If we get to play again I think it will give the team a whole new way of thinking about the game. I think we will have a greater appreciation for it which might spark a fire within them,” Coach Mooney said. “We will all be so pumped about getting back we might actually benefit from it.”