Every year, seniors come and go, leaving their mark on their school even when they’re gone. Some stand out more and leaves bigger marks in their university. This year’s seniors on the softball team are some of those seniors.
These five seniors include two conference tournament champions and a couple All-Americans, have been a part of three MIAA regular-season championships and have won 167 games and counting.
Last Sunday, Karley Scmelzer, Amanda Self, Jessica Brewer, Katie Huffman and Lauren Sharp took the diamond of at the Trusler Sports Complex for the final time in their careers. When they left, they walked away with a series split against Lindenwood, winning the first in an 8-0 mercy ruling victory.
“You always want your seniors to have a big day on senior day,” said head coach Julia LeMaire. “Karley was pitching very well, Amanda made some nice throws behind the plate, Katie has had a great season, Jessica had made some great plays, hopefully they feed off this going into post season.”
In the first game, Schmelzer got the start and continued her stellar senior year on the mound with six complete innings, striking out 9 batters and even retiring 12 straight batters, pitching four straight 1-2-3 innings between the second and the fifth.
Schmelzer got the help of a buzzing bat led by senior Amanda Self, who capped a four-run inning in the fourth with a two RBI single to put the Lady Hornets up 7-0.
“For three years now, I have seen seniors have this honor. Now, it was finally our turn. It was disappointing – we didn’t get the sweep – but we are just going to continue to work hard,” Self, a biology education major, said.
After mercy-ruling Lindenwood in game one, Sharp got her chance in the circle on her senior day. After being shut out through the sixth in the first game, Lindenwood got two quick runs in the first.
Schmelzer came in for relief in the third and then allowed only one more base runner the rest of the game. But the damage was done, and despite having a hit in every inning, the Lady Hornets couldn’t bat their way into a comeback, taking a 2-0 loss in the nightcap.
“It was bitter sweet,” Schmelzer, an elementary education major, said. “This is the last time I will play here, but not the last time I will play. Hopefully, we can bring it all together in conference play.”
Despite the senior day split, the Lady Hornets still sit at the fourth seed heading into the conference tournament. First-round game will be against Northeastern State on tonight at 6 p.m.