OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KSNT) — It was a day many Kansas high school softball players didn’t think they would see until next year.
For the seniors, it was a day they didn’t think they would see at all after all spring sports were cancelled because of the coronavirus.
“I was convinced I would never play again,” Royal Valley senior second baseman Hadley Gregory said. “So, this one last time was really awesome.”
On Wednesday, those seniors were given the chance to return to the field one last time with their teammates at Midwest Sports Productions’ “One Last Game” Senior Send-Off in Overland Park.
Royal Valley High School, Hayden Catholic High School, Holton High School and Topeka West High School were among over 30 teams from across the state faced off in single exhibition games.
“We had a reason to show up and play a game and finish with each other, give each other the hugs, show each other the appreciation,” Holton Head Softball Coach John Deitrich said.
“It’s something other than just sitting on our couches for three months and that’s it,” Holton senior shortstop Bailey Flewelling said.
While it doesn’t make up for a season lost, it’s an opportunity to say goodbye to the sport they love.
“Just to be able to see them take the field this one time, I mean, this means everything to them,” Royal Valley Assistant Coach Cassidy White said. “They put it all out there.”
Some seniors have a collegiate softball career to look forward to.
“Even though I’m going on to the next level to play collegiate ball, it was just bittersweet to have one last game,” Royal Valley senior shortstop Mckenzie Ogden said.
Others are at peace with how the final chapter of their high school school career has ended.
“I have no regrets and I hope no one else does,” Gregory said. “What better way to go out than an undefeated season?”
Many coaches and players said that the saying “Play every game like it’s your last” has taken on a much deeper meaning after what they’ve experienced this past season.