Coming up to the plate at Northwestern playing against the Fighting Irish, I knew there was a possibility it would be the last at-bat of my collegiate career.
We were down by double digits with just two innings left.
We were still playing hard, and you never know if you can rally, but at that point, I had to understand it might be my last chance to hit for the Golden Grizzlies.
I relaxed and just thought, “If she gives me the right pitch, I’m going to send it out of here.”
Then… I got it.
High, up in the zone — the ball was served to me on a platter, and I ate it up.
I hit a home run on what turned out to be my last at-bat for Oakland.
At the time, it was business as usual and just me trying to keep us in a game, but later that night, the emotions would flow over the five years I’ve had here and what it meant to the team and to me to make it to the NCAA Regionals for the first time in our collegiate careers and for the first time in school history since 2015.
Despite my collegiate career coming to a close, Oakland will forever have a special place in my heart.
When I was just a high school kid playing softball, I wasn’t envisioning any of this. And that’s what makes this school so unique, you know? They create an experience that even your own imagination can’t foresee.
As a young girl, I wasn’t even thinking of playing college ball. Everyone told me that I couldn’t be a part of the medical field and a collegiate athlete at the same time.
Oakland taught me otherwise.
They let me know I could do both, and it would be challenging, but it would be possible, and they’d help me figure out how to balance the two.
Oakland kept every promise they made to me during the recruitment process, and I spent the next five years holding up my end of the bargain.
Holding up my end of the bargain, however, became impossible in 2019 when I tore my ACL.
It happened during a Fall practice.
Nothing really out of the ordinary, but little did I know that it would change everything. When I tore my ACL, it wasn’t just a significant injury that stopped me from playing; it felt like it stopped me from living to a degree.
The regularness of life became a challenge.
It took ten plus months just to feel normal again and even longer to feel good enough to compete. Luckily, I had great doctors and teammates that supported me during this process.
I also want to give a special shout-out to my suitemate Cammie Brummitt who helped me so much during this difficult period. She was also recovering from a major shoulder injury, so we could both relate to what the other one was going through.
It’s a unique bond we built, recovering from these injuries, celebrating our progress, and looking forward to being healthy again.
So often in life, we take our health for granted, but when you’re injured, you realize how fortunate you were when you could do what you wanted. You certainly learn to appreciate your physical health more and more after an experience like this.
When I returned to the field in 2020, I was ready to roll.
I started in all our games and led the Horizon League in runs scored when the pandemic forced us to postpone the rest of the season. It was a tough time for everyone in 2020, but it reinforced how precious life is and how valuable being healthy truly is. I was glad to be okay, and I was happy to make a comeback to the field after a challenging 2019.
One thing always eluded us throughout my time in Oakland; winning our conference and earning an NCAA berth.
In 2022, we did just that, winning a come-from-behind game against Robert Morris 5-4.
It was like something out of a movie; we just stayed focused and told ourselves, “Why not us?” and we broke through in the sixth inning. We scored three runs and took the lead for good.
Winning this game and earning an NCAA berth was the pinnacle of my collegiate career. Oakland hasn’t been to the big dance since 2015, so doing this in my last year was the perfect way to end my final season at Oakland.
Our NCAA tournament may not have ended in glory, but I’m proud of our progress as a school and as a team. I feel as though we left the program better than it was when we got here, and hopefully, the upcoming class can take things to the next level.
As I head to the next chapter of my life, I’m so happy to have been a part of the Golden Grizzlies. I’ll always be a member of this community and our last dance this year was a wonderful waltz.
Now, it’s time for me to continue my education at Eastern Michigan and be a part of the Physician Assistant program. Oakland did everything they promised me they would so many years ago when I was just a high-school kid.
I got my education, got to play softball at a high level, and I’m continuing my medical career.
I’m so thankful for everything they’ve done for me and I’ll always think of Oakland as home.