“On this dirt you’ve literally left blood sweat and tears. You’ve made friendships that will always be a part of you. You’ve fought side-by-side with girls who relate to how bad you want to win. This dirt holds your laughter as tightly as it holds your frustration. Life goes on off this dirt but nothing can compare to the feeling you get while standing on it. Each time you look at this jar of dirt know in your heart what it stands for and remember these years and all of the wonderful memories it holds.”
Written by fellow teammates, this poem of sorts was the theme of the night for the girls’ softball Senior Night game on Tuesday, May 1. The matchup against La Reina High School signified the last time that the team’s six seniors, all of whom had been with the program all four years, would play on their home field at Ventura College.
Despite losing 4-0, the players and coaches focused on reminiscing and celebrating the program’s first four-year varsity athletes with banners, flowers and gifts, including a jar of dirt from their home field that’s tagged with the poem above.
Catcher Taylor “Dub” Wreesman ‘18 pointed out that, even though she went through a similar experience for the water polo team’s senior night, “it’s still kind of shocking, every time you do it.”
“It doesn’t hit you until tonight, and then it kind of freaks you out for a little while” because “you’re not used to it, you’re used to the rhythm,” Wreesman said.
The rhythm of pregame warm-ups was a ten minute ceremony in which each senior (Ashley Larroude, Jade Iannacone, Jess Mendoza, Taylor Escobar, Wreesman and Jazmine Razo ’18) was called to a table between the pitcher’s circle and home plate, accompanied by their parents, to receive gifts like a personalized blanket, a bouquet of roses and the jar of dirt.
Head coach Jere Dietz and former coach Priscilla Rouse-Becker gave short speeches commemorating each player for her achievements and contributions to the team over the years.
Jere Dietz finished the celebration with a classic “play ball”— and play ball they did.
With all of the seniors playing starting positions, the Dragons held the Regents to zero in the first inning, starting with an easy out by Jamie Dietz ‘19 and Iannacone. Jamie Dietz fielded a grounder to second and tossed it to Iannacone with plenty of time.
With one out, the Regents hit a line drive to Razo in centerfield, earning a single, but the momentum was short-lived, as Wreesman caught a foul popup to get the second out.
Things got a little tense as another solid hit by La Reina put loaded the bases.
Kat Tafoya ‘19 closed it out by striking out the following batter, holding the Regents to no runs.
Jere Dietz was proud of the team’s defense today and throughout the season, saying “we play defense really well; we’ll make an error here or there, but we play defense pretty well. It’s just been our hitting the last couple weeks, we just haven’t been attacking the ball and that’s what’s really hurting us.”
The second inning, La Reina kicked it up. After the first two batters got out on a grounder and a popup, a batter was hit by a pitch to get to first.
La Reina’s leadoff hitter scored the runner with a bunt to first, which was overthrown, and got to second herself. After a walk, Iannacone caught a foul ball to put an end to the short rally.
Another scoreless inning at the plate left the Dragons down 1-0 at the end of the second inning.
To kickoff the third, La Reina’s four-slot hitter ripped it to left field for a home run. That would be the only score of the inning, thanks to a caught fly ball from Abby Strong ‘19, a good fielding play of the bunt from Mendoza and a stumbling catch from Tafoya.
But again, the Dragons struggled at bat. Though Sammy Fenton ‘20 earned a single with a one- hopper over third base, she couldn’t get around the bases and the Dragons had another scoreless inning. This left them down 2-0 at the end of the third.
The fourth inning was where the Dragon’s deficit increased and their spirits dropped a bit. Jamie Dietz fielded the first out again, but the very next play La Reina’s leadoff hit one just over her head to earn a single. She then stole second, and was brought home by her teammate’s hit just shy of the left field fence. A walk put the runners on first and second, and a hit right down the third base line brought in another run. However, the runner going from first to third was tagged out to end the inning.
The rest of the game was more of the same. Though the Dragons played solid defense to hold the Regents to four, their bats never lit up to counter, and it resulted in a 4-0 loss.
Despite the loss, the team joked around about past memories, and smiles were seen all around.
“I play with my sisters on the field,” Mendoza said. “What brings us together is softball.”
With only four games left to play, Jere Dietz is happy with the time he’s spent with the seniors.
“They’ve all got different personalities that we’ve learned how to work with and laugh with,” he said, “so we’ll miss them.
Editor’s Note: Jazmine Razo is a videographer for the Foothill Dragon Press. She was not involved in the production of this article.