Meadville Tribune

Sports

June 9, 2012

Five seniors see careers end with Thursday’s losses

June 9, 2012 7:00 a.m. — Hallie Kirdahy’s left index finger looked pretty nasty.

“The ball hit the end of it,” she said, holding out the puffy pink digit, blood pooling around the nail. “I don’t think it’s broken, it’s just swollen. It’s quite painful.”

She added with a sigh, “You get beat up a little bit. That happens.”

Hopefully the unusual color of the finger didn’t clash with the graduation gown that Kirdahy and the rest of Saegertown High School’s seniors would be donning later in the day on Thursday.

Saegertown’s seniors graduated that evening. Earlier in the day, however, the school’s baseball and softball teams tried to keep their seasons going during a pair of state quarterfinal playoff games.

Neither team succeeded in those endeavors. The softball team, for which Kirdahy played third base, lost to Chartiers-Houston 4-3. The baseball team fell to North Star 2-0.

For the baseball team, that meant the end of the high school sports career for the squad’s only senior, Ryan Paden.

“Ryan’s been a fantastic leader for us this year, both on the field and off the field,” said Panthers baseball coach Tim Crum. “We’re going to miss him next year. I know the coaching staff is really going to miss him next year. He’s a super kid.”

Meanwhile, the softball team graduated four seniors: Kirdahy, first baseman Mirrissa Parker, shortstop Belle Mazurik and sub Lindsey Lenhart.

It was tough to tell which was bothering Kirdahy more; the finger, or the fact that it was all over.

“It’s sad that I have to leave my girls and my coaches — my family, I spend every single day with them,” she said.

“But we’re one of the best teams from our school to ever make it to this spot. I mean, we’re the best team to ever come through Saegertown. And that is something I’m extremely proud of. We, as a family, made it this far. And I couldn’t be any more proud of my girls.

“But it’s hard, trust me. It’s my last game.”

Both teams have every reason to be proud of their accomplishments, really. Each had 20 or more wins for the season. Each were one of the top eight teams in the state in their respective classifications. Each were just three wins from being state champs.

Plus, each program has quite a promising future. Both the softball and baseball teams have plenty of talent returning for the 2013.

Great for this year’s underclassmen. But, “That doesn’t help (Ryan Paden),” said Crum. “That doesn’t make him feel any better. He’s thinking, ‘To (heck) with that. I want to keep playing.’ And I’m sure he does. ... This is a bitter pill for him to swallow.”

One could see how tough that pill was to get down as Paden marched out of the dugout and made a beeline to the bus after the baseball team’s loss.

You could see it after the softball game too, as Mazurik, with a sad grin, waved good-bye to her underclass teammates. They were sticking around to watch some of the baseball game, which was being played nearby.

She, however, had to hurry home. Her and the rest of the seniors had to get ready for the graduation ceremony.

And later that day the class of 2012 received their diplomas. And among that class were five students that, a few hours before, had picked up at least one more lesson than their classmates. It was an important lesson. But it’s a tough one to learn.

Sometimes, you get beat up a little bit.

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