Family is the word that comes to mind when members of the Loras softball team think about their experience as a Duhawk. Four team members’ time on the field is almost complete, but the bonds they created will last a lifetime. Loras is graduating four seniors at the conclusion of the 2016 season: Makaila Haase, Ashlee Hoffman, Julie Kistner and Alexis Seth, who serves as the Softball Operations Intern.
Saturday’s doubleheader against Buena Vista served as Senior Day for the softball team. The Duhawks split with the Beavers falling 8-5 in game one but bouncing back to take game two 6-3. Loras had a 5-3 lead entering the seventh inning, but a late five-run rally by the Beavers allowed them to surpass the Duhawks and take the first game. Determined to claim victory on Senior Day, Loras struck first in game two with two runs in the third inning and never looked back, claiming the split.
While the conclusion of Saturday’s game was a bittersweet moment for the graduating seniors, they have a lot to be proud of in their time donning the purple and gold. Haase tallied her 100th career hit this season and is posting a career-best .338 batting average. She has been a crucial force in the circle for the Duhawks, recording 82 career strikeouts.
Hoffman is also posting career-best marks this season with a .250 batting average and .357 slugging percentage. She has recorded two games of double-digit putouts at first base this year.
In her two years with the team, Kistner has been effective at second base tallying 76 career putouts for a cumulative .927 fielding percentage.
Seth sported a Duhawk jersey for her first two years at Loras, but traded in the uniform for the program manager position as a junior. This year, Seth held the title of Softball Operations Intern and has had a huge impact on both the team and the coaching staff.
“By having the job I do, I am still a part of the family I joined my freshman year, and it has been an honor to stay with these women as they grow. I consider myself just as much on the team as any of the players,” Seth said about her role.
No matter a person’s title, it was conclusive among the seniors that being a part of Duhawk softball means more than a position on the field.
“Playing Duhawk softball means so much more than words can say. I have learned so much more than athletic skills, like what it means to be a teammate, leader and sister. I have played through many types of adversity and team dynamics that will help me succeed in other facets of life,” said Haase.
In addition to the lessons learned, there were also unforgettable relationships formed.
“Duhawk softball means making lifelong friends who can pick you up when you’re down and be your number one fans when you’re rocking it. Duhawk softball is a family. I wouldn’t trade these experiences I’ve had with these people for the world,” Kistner added.
Unfortunately, Loras’ road game against Coe on Saturday will be the last regular season game of these seniors’ careers. Luckily, they leave behind a strong legacy to be fulfilled by their friends and teammates. But before they go, they have some words of advice to offer.
“Don’t take any practice or game for granted, and have fun because you never know when it will be your last,” said Hoffman.
“Put your teammates first; they are the ones that you take the field with every day. Don’t be afraid to fail harder because, at the end of the day, no one remembers the outcome, but they remember the effort given and friendships made,” said Kistner.
“Forget the stats, forget the opponent, and forget about yourself, because, in the end, you won’t remember that stuff. Enjoy every second because, sooner than you could ever expect, you’ll be hanging up your cleats, yelling your last “chica-chica-boom-boom,” and taking your last swing. Give it all you’ve got and enjoy it,” Haase said.