Last week, Hardin-Simmons University softball had their annual Alumni Game and they started a new tradition: The Cowgirl Homerun Derby. I spoke to Head Coach Chanin Billings for more insight into these Hardin-Simmons softball traditions.
“The alumni game is a great way for the alumni to connect with the players they played with and the ones they didn’t,” Coach Billings said. “It’s about the camaraderie and building the pride of being an HSU softball player. The alumni also had a great time last season and it was a great night. We look forward to doing it year after year.”
As a member of the HSU softball team, I participated in the Alumni Game and can say firsthand that it was a fantastic experience. The alums decided that they wanted to play against the current team. They claimed that they “wanted to prove that they still had it.” We played a slow-pitch softball game that consisted of five energetic innings filled with double plays, diving catches, and home runs. The alums ended up beating the current HSU softball team 9 - 7. They were excited to leave that game with bragging rights and the confidence that “they still had it in ‘em to play with the younger girls.” Overall, the current team and the alums had an amazing time bonding over new and old memories, and they all went to dinner afterward to commemorate the night.
Coach Billings also commented on the new tradition of The Cowgirl Homerun Derby. “The home run derby is a way to get the community and program supporters involved. It can also build excitement for this year's team.”
Members of the community and alums were encouraged to take their shot at hitting as many home runs as possible when given ten pitches. There were many fierce competitors and numerous balls hit the fence of Ellis Field. The reigning champion for the women’s division was Faith Fernandez, who played for the Cowgirls softball team last season. Fernandez is from Waco and was an early childhood education major at HSU before she transferred schools. As for the men’s division, Andrew Elkins, our assistant coach Shelby Elkins’ husband, took the title of Cowgirl Homerun Derby Men’s Champion. The Homerun Derby was an energetic experience that will hopefully continue for many years.