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One last opportunity

Senior softball stars play in school uniform after missed season

Staff photo / John Vargo Cardinal Mooney’s Caitlin Perry is all smiles before she prepares to bat during Wednesday’s 17th annual Bill Sferra Classic senior all-star softball game in Liberty.

LIBERTY — Brooke Bobbey had her last at-bat in a Poland softball uniform.

Bottom of the ninth, her Mahoning County team had tallied just one run to that point in a 6-2 loss to the Trumbull team at the 17th annual Bill Sferra senior all-star game on Wednesday at Liberty Township Park.

The Bulldog senior swung and drove the ball to dead centerfield, over the fence for a solo home run.

“It was great,” she said. “It’s going to be one to remember for a while. I’m glad I got to do it in front of my friends, family and supporters.”

The annual event, thought to be a casualty — along with the rest of the high school spring sports season — of the COVID-19 pandemic, was quickly put together by Ursuline coach Michael Kernan once the state lifted some restrictions on sports competition.

Staff photo / John Vargo Poland’s Brooke Bobbey prepares to swing.

Wednesday’s event gave senior softball players one last chance to play the game they love in their respective school uniforms. It was the only high school softball game in the area this season.

Cardinal Mooney senior Caitlin Perry was one of five Cardinals on the Mahoning County team.

“It’s good to be with my senior teammates and a lot of the girls I’ve played against the last four years,” Perry said. “I’m glad we’re all finally coming together and get to play out here one more time together.”

Western Reserve’s Alyssa Serensky, who will be playing basketball at Bethany College next school year, said the time together Wednesday was something special.

“We all have the same mindset,” she said. “Give it your all. This is the last time with this jersey on.”

Staff photo / John Vargo Western Reserve’s Alyssa Serensky takes a couple of swings before batting during Wednesday’s 17th annual Bill Sferra Classic senior all-star softball game in Liberty.

She and her WR teammates played for the Trumbull County team. Serensky had an RBI single in the bottom of the second inning to give Trumbull a 1-0 lead.

“You ask anyone, I’m not a very good hitter,” she said. “I got to hit the ball one last time. It’s good.”

As for Bobbey, she is one of a three Poland players continuing their games at the collegiate level. Bobbey is heading to St. Bonaventure, while Kali Gross is going to Case Western Reserve and Ally Nittoli is going to the University of Mount Union.

“We were so lucky to have that talent that we had over the years to be able to send those girls off to college,” Bobbey said. “It really showed, with the help of our coaches, to put that talent to use and make state runs, regional runs.”

For some players like Perry, this is their final game in their school uniform. Perry is heading to Youngstown State University, but is not continuing her softball career.

“It’ll be pretty difficult, but you’ve got to stay busy,” said Perry, who was a multiple-sport athlete for the Cardinals. “You’ve got to put your mind toward other things in life and look forward to what’s coming next.”

The only high school softball game in the area was Wednesday with opposing players coming together as one.

“It’s great because we only knew them as rivals,” Bobbey said. “Some of these girls we would’ve never got the opportunity to get to know other than this game. We get to form those friendships through the game of softball.”

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