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Lady Comets Honor Departing Seniors

It was a cold season for softball this year, colder than usual. Anyone who knows the sport recognizes that the weather can be changeable, but this softball season was fraught with snow, pouring rain, cancelled games, frigid temperatures, and blowing winds that would cause any team to crave the warmth of indoors.

That wasn’t the case with the Hicksville High School Lady Comets Varsity Softball team. They played through it all like champions, and endured the rough weather like superstars.

Monday, May 6 proved warm and sunny, both weather-wise and team-wise. The Lady Comets played their final home game, dubbed “Senior Day,” against Calhoun, and trumped them with a score of 15-0, but not before the traditional ceremony that has become a part of the team for many years.

Prior to the game’s commencement, Coach Rich Hinnerschietz brought each of the departing seniors to the center of the field. Teammates who will remain presented each senior with a bouquet of flowers and an autographed softball. Coach Hinnerschietz, or “H” as he is known, made a short, personalized speech to each senior as they made their way to the pitcher’s mound. Assistant Jason Surdi was on hand as well to offer his congratulations.

The dugout, which had been decorated by the younger members of the team, was stunningly arrayed with graduation balloons and the school colors of orange and black. Each senior was also given a ceremonial banner decorated by a younger team member; the banners hung in the dugout as a tribute to those moving on to college. The previous night, the home of every senior was decorated with toilet paper, plastic ware, Slurpee cups, and window painting with the initials, “VSOD”.

VSOD, as any varsity softball player knows, stands for “Varsity Softball Or Die.” One of the seniors, Brianna Servidio, had her car shut tight with cellophane. The gesture was meant to lighten the emotionally charged atmosphere.

Towards the end of the fifth inning, Coach H called the seniors off the field and replaced them with the younger members of the team. It was a bittersweet moment to watch as the seniors exited their home turf for the final time. Parents videotaped and photographed from the sidelines, but there wasn’t a dry eye in sight on the sidelines or in the dugout.

Hicksville High School Lady Comets Varsity Softball says goodbye this year to:  Marisa Ciriello (team captain; shortstop), Jessica Labia (third base), Amanda Casey (first base, right field), Liz Lavin (center field), Jenna Markakis (pitcher, third and first base alternate) and Servidio (team manager). It will be quite a loss for the team, but the seniors are wished all the best of luck and continued success as they leave their high school careers behind and move forward to college and bright futures.

After the handshake at the end of the game, the Lady Comets took their victory lap and ran their customary sprint to first base. It was incredibly poignant to watch, and even more difficult to exit the field, knowing this would be the last time that this would be their dugout, and this would be their final victory lap on home turf. The Lady Comets ended their season on May 13 against MacArthur High School.