The Alexandria softball team went 10-4 over the final three weeks of the season last spring, and the Cardinals were eager to see how that solid finish would translate into the 2020 season.

Alexandria never got that chance, with the cancellation of this year’s high school spring sports season being one of the many casualties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cardinals had six seniors ready to help lead the way this spring. The Echo Press reached out to each of them as a way to recognize them. For those who responded, it’s an opportunity to share their thoughts centered around four questions: Why do they play their sport? What do they miss most about it this spring? What is a favorite memory from competing? What are their future plans after high school, and do they plan on playing the game again?

(Editor’s note: Look for more stories like this highlighting seniors from area teams both online and within print issues of the Echo Press in the coming weeks.)

Sidney Drew

Sidney Drew
Sidney Drew

Fun facts: 2-year varsity player; .319 career batting average; 2019 All-CLC honorable mention.

Why she plays: I play softball because I love the thrill of the game. The thrill of everyone getting hyped up when someone is up to bat, or the thrill of getting a solid three outs and sprinting into the huddle. Playing with a fun and energetic group of girls makes it a whole lot more fun.

What she misses most: I’m going to miss playing with each and every one of the girls! Going to miss all the pregame warm-ups and hyping all the girls up before the game while jamming to music. Overall, I am going to miss running around those bases and being with the girls.

Favorite memory: My favorite memory is definitely all the fun bus rides with the girls, and the Rockford Tournament every year.

Future plans: I plan on going to (North Dakota State University) to major in physical education. Unfortunately, I don’t plan on playing softball after high school. It’s really hard not being able to play it one last time.

Taylor Sayre

Taylor Sayre
Taylor Sayre

Fun facts: 3-year varsity player; .356 career batting average; All-CLC honorable mention (2019); All-Section 8AAA (2019)

Why she plays: I play softball because it is a sport that I have always been passionate about since I have been a young girl. Softball requires a lot of quickness, strategy, and attention to detail. I love how complex this game is, and how every little play can determine a win or loss of a game.

I play softball because of the individual performance and teamwork that are both needed to succeed. To me, this aspect is very rewarding and has challenged me to improve myself for the better of the team.

What she misses most: I miss absolutely everything. I miss playing games and playing catch with my teammates every day after school. I miss my coaches that have supported me throughout my favorite sport. I miss walking up to bat and getting on base. I miss receiving signs to steal bases. I miss catching pop-flies in the outfield. I miss the uniforms, the dugout, the field, the sunflower seeds, the wins, the losses, the pre-game prayers, the laughs, and all the memories that have been shared through my high school career.

Favorite memory: My favorite memory was when our team was playing a private school for a weekend tournament. I was the leadoff hitter for this game, and on the very first pitch of the day, I hit a home run over the fence!

Future plans: I am attending Bemidji State University to major in secondary english education. I am also getting my coaching certification so I can hopefully become a softball coach one day! I am undecided if I will be continuing playing in college. We will see where God takes me.

Ally Albers

Ally Albers
Ally Albers

Fun facts: 5-year varsity player; .357 career batting average, All-CLC, All-Section 8AAA in 2019

Why she plays: I play softball because it's the best sport out there. It is a team sport that can a lot of the time feel very individual, especially for pitchers. However, the team aspect is why I play. Getting to play the best sport with some of your best friends is unlike anything else.

What she misses most: The thing that I'm going to miss the most this spring is the opportunity to play with this special group of girls one last time. I'll of course miss everything that comes with being a senior, but mostly getting to step onto the field one last time.

Favorite memory: My favorite memory from softball would be going to state in 8th grade. It will be something that I'll always remember, being that most players don't get that opportunity during their high school careers.

Future plans: Next year, I will be attending Bethel University for nursing, and I am undecided if I will play there or not. Even if I choose to not play the game at the college level, I know that softball will still be a big part of my life.

Joria Downing

Joria Downing
Joria Downing

Fun facts: 2-year varsity player; .233 career batting average; Team Most Improved Player Award in 2019.

Why she plays: I play softball because I love the sport, but also because I love the community it provides. I love the bonds I create with my teammates, and making memories.

What she misses most: I miss the little things about softball the most. I miss dressing up for home games, the memories I make with my teammates on the bus rides and in the dugout. I miss hearing my name called in the lineup before a game and the adrenaline rush I get when I’m up to bat, or a ball flies in my direction.

Favorite memory: One of my favorite memories from softball is during a game last season, I caught a fly ball in right field and threw it in to first base for a double play.

Future plans: I plan to attend South Dakota State University for nursing with the intentions of pursuing anesthesia after college. I am not planning on playing on a competitive softball team for SDSU, but I am excited to get involved in the intramurals the college has to offer.

Autumn Botz

Autumn Botz
Autumn Botz

Fun facts: 3-year varsity player; .327 career batting average; Team Most Improved Player Award from 2019.

Why she plays: I play softball because I just do. I don’t know. The game of ball has always been there, and it feels like a part of me. I’ve had a multitude of good memories with my family and friends and team that circle around the game.

What she misses most: What I miss most about softball is everything. I miss my friends and team. I miss the laughter and memories. I also miss the smell of the field, especially after a fresh rain and mow.

Favorite memory: I have a lot of memories with the team, but I think my favorite one that I can think of right now would be when I hit the grand slam at Sauk Rapid-Rice during playoffs last year.

Future plans: I plan on going to Alex Tech for communication art and design. As for softball, I will no longer be playing fast pitch, but I hope to continue to play slow pitch in the summer.