As if winning their second state championship in five years and the accolades that rolled in from their state title season weren’t enough, the Huffman Hargrave Falcons softball team had one more special moment two weeks ago.
Seniors Dez Cardenas (shortstop) and Alli Humphries (outfield) played in their final high school softball game as Falcons in the Southeast Texas Coaches Association All-Star game on Thursday, June 13.
It was extra special for coach Garrett Gates as he considers their experience and leadership abilities key to Hargrave’s state title.
“Winning the state championship had a large part with them and their leadership abilities. Both of them have been our starters since sophomores,” Gates said. “So they have a lot of playoff experience … [they’re[ great leaders, they lead in different manners, but are definitely going to be missed, especially being up the middle and being three-year starters.”
Gates also talked about how different a final game in a high school career can be from an emotional standpoint, especially the unpredictability.
“When you’re in the playoffs, you never really know when your last game is gonna be. You hope that it’s in the state tournament like ours was, but in a playoff series you never know when your last game is,” Gates said.
He then talked about an all-star game, when players actually know that that is it.
“Going to play an all-star game with other players and knowing that that’s your last time you’re gonna put on a high school jersey … it was very emotional, and they handled it well, and there was a lot of excitement, and also a lot of sadness,” Gates said.
Cardenas will play college softball at North Dakota State, while Humphries is headed to Hillsboro Junior College.
However, with soon-to-be senior Katy Janes ranked in the top 10 female athletes by VYPE recently, the Falcons have no intention of slowing down.
“She’s very good in the circle and she also does a lot for us at the plate,” Gates said. “She also leads by example; she works hard and she’s very humble and that’s something you don’t see in many athletes nowadays.”
Gates noted that two days after the state tournament, Janes was working out in their cages, a sign of the hard work that she puts in-.