A life without softball is not a life Abigail Anderson wants to know.
She’s played the sport since she was 5 years old. It’s been a part of her daily existence.
But Anderson, a senior for Pontotoc, now finds her career on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Mississippi High School Activities Association suspended all competition and practices earlier this month, and the odds of softball season resuming are slim.
Pontotoc’s last game was March 6.
“This has been my childhood, and growing up it’s always been what I’ve done,” Anderson said. “I just don’t know what a life would be – I mean, we’re seeing right now what it’s like without it. It’s a life I don’t really want to live.”
Making this an even harder pill to swallow is that Anderson, a first baseman, was tearing up opposing pitching after returning from a torn ACL she suffered last season before the playoffs.
She has a team-high .591 batting average with 10 RBIs for Pontotoc (5-1-1). Anderson batted .313 last year and worked hard in the offseason with her hitting coach, Brad Ivy.
“She came back, and she’s been leading us, doing a very good job, especially at the plate,” coach Michael Wildmon said. “She’s one of the most vocal leaders we have on the team.”
The Lady Warriors, ranked No. 6 by the Daily Journal, went 9-16 last season against a tough schedule and pushed Tishomingo County to the brink in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs. They carried that momentum into this season, losing to No. 1-ranked Houston by just one run and beating then-No. 3 Vardaman.
Despite losing its top two pitchers – one transferred, one quit – Pontotoc has been strong in the circle.
Sophomore Kinsey Cayson (3-0, 2.58 ERA) and freshman Addison Owen (1-1, 2.95) have been pleasant surprises, as has eighth grader Averi Bridgman, who struck out 11 in a shutout of Oxford.
“Beginning of the year, we weren’t really sure how it was going to go,” Anderson said of the young pitchers. “But they worked their butts off this year, and we’ve really worked hard together as a team to be one and be united. That’s honestly probably what’s helped us so much, is all of us girls are so close.”
The Lady Warriors became especially close two years ago, when Wildmon took over as head coach after Austin McNair resigned during the season. Anderson said Wildmon got the team to work together, and the players developed a deep bond.
Which makes the potential loss of Anderson’s senior season that much more painful.
“Knowing that when I got back and I was doing pretty good, knowing all that’s happened, it kind of really wrecked my world,” she said. “It changed everything. Not only that, but knowing I’ve not been with my team these past few weeks has really hurt me. They’re like a family to me.”