By Lenny Sementi
Every season eventually comes to end but the 2020 version of the Lady Warriors Softball team was thrown a curveball this spring. If you make the state championships you know you are done at the end of it. If you lose in the postseason before there are usually some tears but there is closure. The softball senior class of 2020, Carissa Denny, Abbey Jacob and Sophia James will always remember the season that truly never ended.
There was a feeling that the postponement after the second week of practice might be the end but there was always hope they could return to the diamond. That being said the Warriors coaching staff decided to scrimmage the entire last practice at least giving the seniors one last trip around the bases if the season never restarted and unfortunately it never did.
Denny, one of the hardest workers in the program was a four-year player for the black and gold. She was looking to take up residence at third base this spring and after a blast to left in the scrimmage was looking to add some power to the middle of the batting order.
“Getting to not only dress varsity my freshman year and also getting on the field during our southern trips versus Benton is something I will never forget,” stated Denny. “I miss spending time with my teammates more than anything. I was also looking forward to my senior night, I really thought this year was going to be good for us.”
Her plans are to attend LakeLand College in the fall. “I will start with my Gen Ed’s this fall which will help lead me to decide my career path. I am trying to decide between nursing or preschool education.”
Jacob was another four-year varsity player and served as a pinch and courtesy runner as a freshman before patrolling the outfield as a sophomore and junior. The gold shoe wearing speedster was extremely aggressive on the base paths and caused a lot of problems for opposing defenses. She homered to right center field in her final at bat in the black and gold during the scrimmage. “Like Carissa I really miss spending time with my teammates both on the field and off during team breakfasts,” Jacob said. “My best memory was beating Casey Westfield to win the Tuscola Classic my freshman year. I’m planning to attend Mississippi State University and study Criminal Psychology and hope to one day have a career in that field.”
James was a Villa Grove Blue Devil as a freshman before her family moved to Tuscola the following summer. She ran both track and played softball for VG and then ran track at Tuscola as a sophomore and then turned to softball her junior year. She was going to cover some grass in the outfield for the Warriors this season and add speed to the base paths as a right-handed slapper after a successful campaign as a pinch runner last year. Being her coach, I noted that, Sophia really bought into being a slapper was getting really good at and she could also hit for power, to have both weapons in her arsenal would have made her a very tough out.
“I got to travel on the southern trip last year as a newcomer, that’s something I’ll never forget,” James commented. “I really miss the opportunity to create new bonds with all my teammates and the fact that I won’t get to experience being a senior on the field. I plan on attending Parkland College in the fall to pursue my nursing degree and transfer to a four year University to then obtain by BSN.”
Being the coach of these three young ladies is an honor. This is an article I never wanted to write. I have waited as long as I could hoping that in some way we could get them back on the field. These three will hold a special place in my memory because of the circumstances they had to endure and how they have handled them with nothing but grace. Some day we will celebrate senior night with them and send them off in style. All three will always be Warriors!