HARRISBURG (WSIL) -- 2020 was supposed to be a promising season for Harrisburg softball. A senior heavy team, with a lot of playing experience returning, but a potential season to remember necer got started due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We were coming off a 31-7 season, we got to the sweet 16 last year and had 8 seniors coming back and our expectations was high," Harrisburg assistant softball coach Jake Stewart said.
"Me, I only play softball so my main focus throughout the year is just softball and I feel a lot of us focused our time mainly on softball," Harrisburg senior Maddi Ladd said.
"All 8 seniors was going to be in the starting lineup somewhere and coming off of last years season the girls were excited," Stewart said. "We had our starting pitcher back that would have been a sophomore this year and in practice she was throwing well so piur expectations this year were really high coming in."
And it's not often you come across a high school starting lineup that has 5 athletes signed to play college ball.
"Maddie Ladd's going to Geneva in Pennsylvania," Stewart said.
"I spend most my summers on the road for travel ball so there are weeks on end I'm not at home, used to being on the road so ten hours away playing softball so I think I'll be fine out there," Ladd said.
"Haley Sullivan is going to Logan, Essence Sanders SIC, Mya King SIC," Stewart said.
"Some of us are going to play college ball and some of us aren't so leaving the ones who don't get to play is really hard," Harrisburg senior Mya King said.
"Hannah Reid is going to Rend Lake College," Stewart said.
"Most of us that are going on to play college ball have summer workouts and stuff and we are communicating with our teams but the focus hasn't already shifted past high school ball because we haven't gotten that finalization, there's hope for that one last game for closure" Harrisburg senior Hannah Reid said. "It's a great group of girls and would hate to say goodbye without one last game."
"So those are softball kids, that's what they do and we had two or three other girls that are prospects that are to go to the next level too so when you have girls already signed and ready to play, you are even more excited for them, that's half your team that's going to be playing at the next level next year," Stewart said.
The Seniors are heartbroken they didn't get to play this season, but Coach Red Stafford is 9 wins away from career victory 500. It hurts the seniors that they won't be able to get him that milestone win this year.
"Definitely think it would've meant a lot to all of us, me expecially because I helped him get that 450th win and that was really important to me and it would've been really neat to be with him during that time," Ladd said.
"I think it would've meant the world to any of us seniors because Coach Red played a huge part in all of our high school careers whether we had our good days with him or our bad days I'd say he's probably one of the best coaches around here and I know it would mean the world to all of us just to help him achieve that," Reid said.