Southerland and Husen create their own senior night
When UIL canceled the remainder of the spring sports season, Lady Blues senior shortstop Alex Husen called her best friend and Lady Blues’ star pitcher Emma Southerland. They both agreed that nothing was going to take their senior night away.
On May 11, the two returned to the softball field, in uniform, one last time. Joined by their parents, Coach Arrington and Coach Hogan, the “Comeback Queens” returned to the house that Hogan built, one last time.
The two have been playing softball together for a long time. Both have been varsity players since their freshman year in 2017. The next year, their sophomore year, Southerland nervously gave her first video interview.
“She was so nervous,” Husen said. “She called us the ‘Comeback Queens’ because we always end up taking series to three, but we’ll find a way to win somehow.”
In 2018, the Lady Blues dropped the first game of a series against Stephenville, 2-0. During game two of the series, the Lady Blues took an early 5-0 lead and fended off a late Stephenville comeback attempt to win the game. In the series-deciding game three,the Lady Blues fell behind early before scoring a combined eight runs in the sixth and seventh inning to clinch the series. Southerland threw 20 innings in the series with 29 strikeouts. Both Husen and Southerland share the same favorite memory when looking back at their high school careers: their 8-7 win over Vernon on April 21, 2017. The game was a 10-inning marathon in which Southerland threw all 10 innings with five strikeouts. Husen had a hit and a walk in the game. Southerland added a sacrifice. Sarah Bundrick clinched the game and the district title with a walk-off single in the bottom of the tenth inning. Husen also has fond memories of games against Abilene-Wylie.
“We’ve always had a thing for Wylie at Graham,” Husen said. “It’s not like we don’t like Wylie, it’s just kind of a rivalry, but kind of not. You just always want to beat Wylie. In our sophomore year, we were playing them in the Graham tournament and we won. The bases were loaded with no outs, and one minute left in the game(...) we actually won the game on a triple play.”
On Husen and Southerland’s Senior Night, the pair took batting practice one last time. They also paired up with their fathers for a home run derby against each other. Husen hit a home run to a secure a tie for Team Husen. “I didn’t want anybody to lose,” Husen joked afterwards. After a round of catch with their fathers, the Comeback Queens stepped off the field together one last time.
“It kind of gives us closure, but nothing can replace the real thing,” Husen said. “I remember all of the senior nights, watching them walk with a rose, and hearing their advice. ‘Play every game like it could be your last’ and then that literally happened to us.”
Their last message was a different one. That could be expected as these are different times. Instead of a message to their teammates, it was a message to the community who has supported them in these challenging times.
“I just wanted to thank all the healthcare workers,” Husen said. “I know they’ve gotten so much, but I hope people just continue to recognize them. We see them doing all of this crazy work on the front lines with everything going on.” Southerland took her opportunity to thank the fans. “I’m really thankful for our supporters, the people who have been following us,” Southerland said. “They were really excited to see us play out our senior year and see how far we could go. Shout out Chester and Diane Martin. He has his own chair up there (...) they are literally the best people.”
Both Husen and Southerland had high hopes for the season. They both recognize the history of the program they are in and both feel honored to have a place in it. Both felt they could do the one thing that has eluded the program, win a state title.