After a Loyola doubleheader in 2022 season, I found myself on the field. That isn't unusual, as I interview coaches or players after the game. This was different though. This time, I was in the batter's box facing Loyola assistant coach Beth Wallace. It was part of a charity home run derby.
I have had a couple other chances to hit on a real softball field. I played in a charity game against the National Pro Fastpitch Chicago Bandits, striking out in my only at bat. I took batting practice against Chicago Bandits star Kristyn Sandberg and did okay. This was different though. My goal here was to clear the fence. Truthfully, my real goal was to just not embarrass myself.
Because the first batter didn’t hit any homer, I felt a little relief. Batting next, I found a comfortable bat and settled into the box. The setting sun presented a bit of a challenge. I lined the first pitch right back off the cage where Wallace pitched. I hit decent shots with the next few swings, making little adjustments each time. Then I absolutely crushed one. Unfortunately, it was to dead center, the deepest part of the park. While it elicited cheers from the Ramblers shagging flies in the outfield, it did not clear the fence 230 feel away. That would be my highlight. The next few swings resulted in decent hits, but nothing great.
While I did not accomplish my goal of going yard, My one deep drive was enough for me to feel positive. I felt even better after watching the rest of the batters, most of whom didn’t do much better.
Heading to the games, I had no idea I would be taking swings. It was a fun experience and one I will definitely do again if given the chance. That fence is out there and I still want to clear it!
Thank you to Loyola Athletics for this opportunity. Go Ramblers! For mor info on Loyola Athletics, go to LoyolaRamblers.com.