This spring break, Hornets will surely swarm the beaches of Florida, Texas and Alabama. But one small group of 17 Hornets will swarm the beaches and softball diamonds of O’ahu, Hawaii. This March, Emporia State’s Lady Hornets will travel to the Aloha State to face off against Hawaii Pacific University and Chaminade University.
This trip marks the first out-of-the-Midwest trip the Lady Hornets have taken since 2019, when the team traveled to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Sydney Righi, graduate student studying business administration and a pitcher for the team, was a freshman when the team traveled to Florida and is looking forward to traveling with her teammates.
“It’s my last year getting to play the sport I love with the people that I love,” Righi said. “On top of that, Hawaii is a bonus. It's really a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to play your favorite sport in a place like Hawaii.”
During their trip, the Lady Hornets will play three double headers three days in a row, with only one day in between their arrival to Hawaii and their first double header. April Rosales, head coach for the Lady Hornets, has been mentally preparing the team, emphasizing the importance of staying focused before and during their trip.
“It’s obviously spring break, but we do have six games while we are there,” Rosales said. “(Additionally) it’s going to be really important to stay focused before we leave because we open our season the Friday and Saturday before we leave.”
The Lady Hornets understand that this trip isn't a vacation, it's business.
“Coach keeps telling us ‘Remember you are going to Hawaii for softball, you need to be focused for those games,’” said Emma Furnish, junior outfielder and elementary education major.
This is not a free trip for the Lady Hornets. They've been fundraising for this trip for months. The team has sold trash bags, calendars, raffle tickets and has held community events like ‘Hit Like a Girl’.
“Our goal is for each of us girls to raise $2,000,” Furnish said. “Some of us are super close to our goal and others are struggling. It depends on who you know. It’s been very effective but we still have a ways to go.”
The six games the team is playing in Hawaii is just a small part of the team's 56 game regular season; Rosales said they can’t only focus on Hawaii.
“Hawaii is definitely a small part of our season so I don't want to necessarily make it bigger than it is but I mean, it's a trip that not everybody gets to take either,” said Rosales. It may be a once in a lifetime (opportunity) for some of these kids, and there are a couple that have never flown before. So, it's not lost on me how important that part of the season is, but I need to make sure that the girls do understand that it's much bigger than Hawaii.”
The team is still fundraising for their trip. Individuals interested is supporting the team can donate using this link: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/esusoftball
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