MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) With the coronavirus cutting sports seasons short, it’s a difficult time for many athletes who are coming to terms with the fact that their seasons are likely finished.
It’s an especially difficult time for many seniors who won’t have the opportunity to finish out what for some, may be their final season competing.
Rileigh Marlow is one of those seniors who was looking forward to competing in her last softball season for Southeast Lauderdale. The team was only 10 games into the fast pitch season before everything was put on hold.
Marlow recalls the final game she competed in this season.
"We had a game on Saturday and knew school hadn’t gotten cancelled yet but we kind of had an idea that it might be our last game so we didn’t take it for granted," Marlow said. "We just tried to have fun out there.”
While the MHSAA awaits Governor Tate Reeves’ decision on whether or not school closures will be extended beyond the current April 17 date, Marlow’s senior season remains on hold.
This season would have been Marlow’s first full-season of play after she was sidelined the past two years with injuries.
“I broke my finger sophomore season right before slow pitch playoffs so I couldn’t play my fast pitch sophomore year. I continued catching my junior year until I got hurt again so I had to have three surgeries in total," Marlow said. "I was really looking forward to my senior season and getting to play again and actually be out there on the field. It’s just frustrating because we were looking forward to it.”
Despite the adversity she’s faced, head coach Chris Harper said Marlow has been “a positive light” for the team – always helping out her teammates even when she couldn’t be on the field with them.
Coach Harper recalls Marlow's dedication to the team with a specific memory.
"One thing that sticks out in my mind is last year we had open practices during spring break. They weren’t mandatory and most kids would have gone to the beach or something of that extent," Harper explained "Rileigh showed up every day even though she knew she wasn't going to play because she was hurt. She showed up to help her teammates and help her coaches.”
With Marlow not playing softball at the next level, this will be her final season. She shared the two things she will miss the most.
“My teammates and coaches for sure….not even the game," Marlow said. "I love the game but it’s the people I played with and who I played for that just made it that much special. Made it that much better.”
Marlow was able to compete this past slow pitch softball season alongside her teammates. Southeast Lauderdale made it all the way to the semifinals before falling to Lake.