By: Hannah Abbate  Sterling, KS — April 24, 2018 7:54 p.m.

Senior day is probably one of the most emotional and important game days of the year. It is the one day to both celebrate and begin to say goodbye to the seniors whom the underclassmen have gotten to know so well. Last year, five graduates left the Sterling softball family. This year, the program must prepare to say goodbye to nine young ladies: Tiana Bonde, Allison Montion, Byanka Diosdado, Jenna Weimer, Dominique Salgado, Chica Bati, Danae Delgado, Alyssa Landeros, and Cassandra Estrada.

“I knew this moment was coming,” said Estrada, “and it has actually come a lot quicker than expected. I went into this year with a different mindset. Instead of worrying about playing time and stressing over stats, I chose to enjoy myself and leave everything I had out on the field each and every day, so that at the end of the season, I could hold my head high with no regrets. I know I will miss the sport, but I devoted more than half of my life to it and I am ready to enter into the next chapter of life that God has for me.”

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Lady Warrior softball seniors. Photo by: Hannah Abbate

The Warriors faced off against York College Monday afternoon at 3 and 5 p.m. Game one started off strong for both teams. However, the Lady Warriors were unable to push any runs across the plate, resulting in a 0-4 loss to the Panthers. In between games began all of the senior day festivities. It was truly a bittersweet moment for all of the girls. Every player that was escorted by their families onto the field was met with a tight hug from every one of their teammates. “I am grateful for the underclassmen that look up for me,” Bonde said. “Knowing that I am a role model for my teammates pushes me to be my best and do my best every day. I am so thankful that they have supported me through all my injuries and rehab, I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”

“I am extremely grateful and thankful for Sterling,” said Landeros. “I don’t know how I ended up in a one-stoplight town in the middle of USA, but I am so blessed to have been able to call it my second home for the last four years.”

In addition to the senior day celebration, the Sterling softball team put on a home run derby the Friday before as a fundraiser for York’s head softball coach Roni Miller, who recently discovered she has cancer. The Sterling program presented Coach Miller with a gift basket at home plate along with a signed card to show that they will be supporting her. Head softball coach Alyssa James said that “it was important to me [that the team show support] because Coach Miller is a good friend of mine and I want her to know that we have her back and will help her in any way that she needs. The conference as a whole has committed to having Roni’s back to help raise money for her family so she can beat this.”

Resuming play, the Warriors came out strong and quickly took the lead from the Panthers. Some amazing plays were made both on defense and offense to allow Sterling to take game two with an 8-2 victory. There is one varsity game left in the season. Sterling will travel to play Friends University this Thursday at 12 and 2 p.m. “It’s tough to realize that after Thursday,” said Weimer, “I will no longer have meaningful softball games to look forward to and attend in which I am actually a player and not a coach or umpire. Up until now, even when I’m not playing, I’ve always been able to think, “yes, watching stinks, but just wait until your season starts or until your next game day.” I truly look forward to every practice, workout, and game, and that’s just not reality anymore.”

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Photo by: Hannah Abbate

“It’s a little scary knowing that a piece of me is leaving the game,” said Montion. “Softball,” she continued, “is something I’ve known my whole life and now that it’s over, it’s something I never thought would happen.”

Landeros had similiar sentiments. “I think I’m still in shock at the fact that the sport I’ve been playing since I was five has really come to an end,” she said.” I like to consider this page in my book half-turned because I’m not sure if I can turn the page on this sport just yet.”

“Playing softball at Sterling College has made me grow as a person. It has really allowed me to work on my teaching skills because I’ve been injured so often. It has made me love the game more than I did when I came here and I am thankful for that,” said Bonde.

As these upperclassmen say goodbye to those younger than them, Landeros said that she “hope[s] you seize the day. I hope you seize every opportunity that is given to you. You are here in this moment, in this location, with these friends for a reason and a purpose. Every one of you brings a unique talent and personality to the team and I cannot wait to watch you all pursue your careers, grow as athletes and continue to be the amazing human beings you are. I love you all. If I have one advice to give you, it is to laugh always, love boldly, take risks and remember tomorrow is never guaranteed so make today the best day yet.”

“I wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere else,” said Diosdado. “Sterling College has put me through trials I never thought I could overcome and also brought amazing and lifelong friends into my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I thank Sterling College for that.”

Estrada also was thankful to the school for her time here. “I am more than thankful to have attended Sterling College for the past four years. Sterling, Kansas will forever hold a special place in my heart. Here, I have made unforgettable memories, built friendships that will last a lifetime, and was blessed enough to meet my future husband.”

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Seniors Tiana Bonde and Alyssa Landeros. Photo by: Hannah Abbate

Coach James said that “I would tell [the seniors] that they have done a great job of leading this year. They have set us up for success in the future with their hard work, dedication and heart.” Bright things are in store for these graduating seniors who must now pass down the torch for the next group to hold. They may be apart, but this group will forever be Team45.

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By: Hannah Abbate  Sterling, KS — March 12, 2018 7:33 P.M.

Tuesday night at home, the Sterling Lady Warrior softball team split a set of wins against the University of Saint Mary. These games, at 2 and 4 p.m., were filled with loud cheering and plenty of close plays and great hitting from both teams.

With some great timely hitting by senior Tiana Bonde and fantastic pitching by junior Mia Luques, the Warriors were able to take a 3-2 victory over St. Mary in game one. “As a team we wanted that win,” said sophomore Kaycee Carter, “and play for each other, not for ourselves. Everyone did what needed to be done. It was a team win.” As well as being a team effort, senior Chica Bati gave game winning credit to clutch hitting and great defense throughout the game.

Unfortunately, the streak did not continue into the start of the second game. “We came out sluggish and didn’t really work until the last two innings,” stated Carter. “We needed to come out guns blazin’.” Bati also agreed that “defense lacked a little bit” in the second game. She went on to say, “The first few innings were tough because our pitching and defense was flat.” Both Bati and Carter agreed that an earlier hitting adjustment by the team collectively and not allowing as many runs to score early on would have greatly changed the outcome of the second game.

Currently, the Warriors have a 4-8 record in KCAC conference play. With the end of the regular season quickly approaching, the team will need to “keep working hard,” said Carter, “and [not] take any team lightly.” The Lady Warriors have just 10 remaining conference games before the end of the season. “We have to split with at least every team, but we also have to sweep at least two teams, I believe, in order make it to the tournament,” said Bati.

Softball’s next home game will be tonight, Thursday, April 12, against McPherson College. The first game will start at 5 p.m. with game two starting around 7 p.m.

By: Hannah Abbate Sterling, KS — Feb. 27, 2018, 3:28 p.m.

The Sterling College Lady Warrior softball team faced off against Graceland University on the afternoon of Monday, Feb. 26, but was unable to come out with the win in either game. The Warrior’s first game began at 2 p.m. and resulted in a 1-6 loss after seven innings of play.

The second game held some hope in the early innings as the Warriors fought to keep the score close. Late in the game, junior Miranda Escalera sent a shot over the fence in left-center, resulting in a two-run home run. “[I] definitely felt a shift in energy,” Escalera said. “We are a great hitting team. We are the type of team to feed off of each other and once we get some type of momentum it’s hard to shut us down.” However, despite some great plays on both offense and defense, the Graceland Yellowjackets came out with the win in the end, outscoring Sterling 10-5.

“One things that really stood in our way today was that we gave up too many unearned runs and we were not able to compensate for that through our at bats,” said senior Cassandra Estrada.

Senior Byanka Diosdado made her first appearance back with the team Monday after working over interterm to better herself for her team. Diosdado said, “I really focused on my mechanics and how I can better the spin of my ball. I focused more of spin then speed. Speed looks great but spin is what really throws off batters. My training was tough but I also really focused on the mental part of the game. Confidence and positive attitude on that mound will get a pitcher a long way in a game.”

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Senior Byanka Diosdado pitching on Monday’s game against Graceland University. Photo by: Hannah Abbate

On Feb. 27, the Warriors will face Central Christian College at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at home. “Our focus for our games against Central Christian,” said Estrada, “will be to have quality at bats and remain consistent throughout both games. It is still preseason, so one thing we are working on is having each other’s backs on the field and developing a sense of trust within the team.”

“We didn’t have too much consistency at the plate [today],” Escalera said. “We had too many strike outs and not enough hits.” She continuted with saying that “our team is looking to have quality at bats [tomorrow] and strong [defense]. When we come out with momentum we feel confident and that’s what we need.”

“We will definitely bring in the energy and really buy into every pitch and every inning [tomorrow],” said Diosdado. “It’s all about playing our game and coming together.”

By: Micah Watney  Sterling, KS — Feb. 19, 2018, 2:31 p.m.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, the women’s basketball team started off with a game facing Bethany College. Sterling, leading most of the game, ended with a final score of 74-66 in Sterling’s favor, putting the women’s team with a total 16-13 win-loss ratio.

The night was also one of joy for some on the team as four of the seniors played their last home game. Senior Kilee Harris said that “from warm ups to the final buzzer we had so much positive energy and teamwork out on the court and from the bench. Then, you add being on your home court into that and it’s all amplified! Couldn’t ask for a better last home game!” Other seniors on the team include Jordin Greer, Samantha Mosley, and Jessica Princ.

While the Sterling men’s basketball team doesn’t have any seniors this year, the game still held some weight. Also facing Bethany College, Sterling stayed strong most of the game, leading all the way into the second half. However, with less than 10 minutes on the clock, the Swedes were able to overtake Sterling with a final score of 80-93. This puts the men’s team with a total 7-22 win-loss ratio.

On both Friday and Saturday, Sterling’s baseball team went against Oklahoma Wesleyan University in a three-game competition. For the first game, Sterling lost with a score of 3-7. Sterling led after the third inning, only to be overtaken by three runs in the sixth inning.

During the second game, Sterling was able to make a comeback winning the game 10-6. Both teams started the game off strong with Sterling in the lead until the fourth inning when Kansas Wesleyan overtook them. By the end, however, Sterling stepped up its game as Wesleyan dropped the ball.

At the third game on Saturday, Sterling was up against some tough competition that lost them the game with a score of 8-13. Oklahoma Wesleyan gave a third inning that won them the game with 10 runs. Sterling was able to catch up with an impressive six runs in the fourth inning, though it wasn’t quite enough. This lends the baseball team with a total win-loss ratio of 3-9.

On Saturday, Sterling’s softball team played two games against Doane University. Sterling ended up winning the first game with a score of 24-22, but lost the second game 9-13. This puts the softball team with a total 2-4 win-loss ratio.

Senior Jenna Weimer stated, “I think in light of the high score of the previous game we let up a bit. We figured in any given inning we could just score five or six runs like we had in the last game, and that just wasn’t the case with the second game’s pitcher. Lots of good stuff individually, we just couldn’t quite pull it together as a team.”

By: Hannah Abbate  Sterling, KS — Feb. 18, 2018, 4:46 p.m.

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, the Sterling College varsity softball team faced off against MidAmerica Nazarene at home. The teams played their first of two games at 2 p.m. at the Sterling High School field. Despite the many Sterling fans who came out to support, the Lady Warriors were out-scored throughout the day. The first game ended with a 9-3 score with the second ending with MidAmerica ahead again at 6-3. These games stand as the Warrior’s first home games of preseason. Their first game of conference will begin March 21 at Ottawa University.

“I think we struggled a lot with moving runners on base, RBIs and scoring runners. We had a lot of opportunities and we just didn’t jump on them. Moving forward, we just need to be more confident at the plate and more selective,” senior and captain Dominique Salgado said after Wednesday’s games. “I try to lead by example. For me, that’s just giving my 100 percent every time I’m out there and showing the girls “this is what I can do and you can do it too, if you work hard.” Be confident, be humble, and just be there for them.”

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Junior Tiah Grass getting ready to swing. Photo by: Hannah Abbate

“I know we struggled with handling our emotions,” Freshman Rosa James said. She went on to say, “I know that if we learn to just back it up with how we play on the field then everything will get better.” She said that “right now, we should all just learn to grow as a team since we have so many new people and also, with Coach Alyssa being our new head coach, we’re all learning and trying to get chemistry with each other. On and off the field, [the relationship between the team] is better than what I expected it to be. But [the team] really welcomed me when I first got here, especially with me being so far away from home, so it helped a lot that they were so nice and fun to be around.”

James is not the only one with high hopes for the season, however. Senior Jenna Weimer almost did not return for her fourth season of eligibility as she planned to graduate in three and a half years. “I didn’t know that I was going to have this season,” Weimer said. “I decided that I’m never going to be able to do this again, so let’s go for it. It’s sweet, but it’s bitter-sweet now because now I know this is over once it’s done. So, I’m just really wanting to go and leave it all out there on the field and get some wins.”

The Lady Warriors hit a bump in the road Wednesday, however, they have more chances to make a comeback. Their next game is at home on Saturday, Feb. 17 against Doane University at 2 p.m.