The Liberty High School's varsity softball team’s seniors may have missed out on most of their final season due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions.
But nothing could stop their teammates and coaches from finding a way to honor their four-year contributions.
The Lions recently caravanned to each of the team’s six seniors’ homes to individually acknowledge, at a safe distance, their profound achievement.
The squad’s senior stars, Mackenzie Boone, Aiko Sherman, Shelby Hunt, Kristela Villanueva, Jessica Topor and Sawyer Stoddard were each recognized with balloons, flowers, gifts and cards.
“These six have been with me since their freshman year and they have grown so much and I am proud of each and every one of them,” said Liberty head coach Stacie Del Chiaro. “These six have accomplished a lot in the four years at Liberty, not only on the field, but off the field as well. They are super smart and were able to balance academics and athletics.”
The senior six and the rest of the squad began playing without spectators in early March, and then play was suspended indefinitely—a few games into the season—just days later.
California’s high school sports governing body officially canceled the spring sports season in early April.
But the seniors' accumulated success remains.
-Boone, who played both in the infield and outfield, hit .216 with 24 hits, 11 runs and seven RBI in 40 games for the Lions in her career.
-Sherman, also an infielder and outfielder, hit .250 with 19 hits, 15 runs and six RBI in 35 games.
-Hunt, an outfielder, hit a career .350 with 28 hits, 19 runs and seven RBI.
-Villanueva, a pitcher, had a stellar 2.82 ERA, with 191 strikeouts in 236 career innings.
-Topor, also a versatile player, hit .280 in her career, with 21 hits, 12 runs and seven RBI.
-Stoddard, an infielder and outfielder, hit .263 in three seasons, with 25 hits, 11 runs and seven RBI.
The group was unavailable for comment at press time.
“They have a bright future ahead of them and even though this is a little road block and hiccup, this will not define them, but it will make them stronger,” Del Chairo said. “If they can overcome this and move forward with positive attitudes and upbeat spirits, they can get through anything.”