Even though the coronavirus threw an unwelcome curve at the Lady Buck softball season, the four graduating seniors - April Watley, Osiris Alferez, Jaiden Portillo, and Aaliyah Fierro - hit one last homer, figuratively speaking. Plenty of friends and family were in the stands watching during softball Senior Night at the Sul Ross State University softball field on May 28.
On March 13, the crack of the bat ended with the coronavirus scare that allowed the team to play its first and last game of the season against District rivals the Tornillo Lady Coyotes. The Lady Bucks hammered Tornillo 13-6, but on March 24, the University Interscholastic League canceled all competitions and practices, postponing play during the first District 3-3A game of the season.
Left fielder Osiris Alferez, who had punched a triple and knocked in two runs, recalled what the final high school game meant to her.
“It meant the closing of my softball chapter. I know I will not be able to play softball anymore. It’s surreal to think that a sport I have always played is just over now,” she lamented.
Starting pitcher and standout April Watley, who had struck out 15 and walked none, echoed the sentiment.
“It was very surreal to think that it was the last game we were ever going to play,” she said. “It was very eye opening that we were basically done.”
Alferez had many special moments during her times on the softball mound, but one stood out in that final game.
She recalled, “There was a pop-up fly that was hit to left field, and I remember everything went silent, and I just caught the ball! That was the last catch I ever had on the field because we never played another game. It was our first District game, and our last District game.”
Coach Bridgett Gonzales said that although not playing out the season was a sad and unfortunate event, Senior Night was a chance for the players to celebrate one last time. When the season was cut short, there wasn’t even an opportunity to get together and talk about it.
“It just ended, and that was the end, so being able to come together and honor them in a special way means a lot,” said Gonzales. “I wish it could have been different, and we could have finished the season out stronger. I knew those girls for four years, so it tugs on my heart strings, but getting to watch them grow up from freshman to senior year, and seeing them grow and change is pretty special, so I’m thankful for that memory.”
Senior Night was made even more special by the presence of close friends and seniors from the Fightin’ Buck baseball team, who also stepped up to the plate to honor the Lady Bucks on their special night.