One of four graduating seniors from the team, Amanda recalls feeling “antsy” her first game to already missing the team now.
Amanda Iriana will never forget the feeling.
At the start of her freshman year, the St. Hubert High School center fielder got the call on opening day.
She had the talent, but she couldn’t help but feel a bit antsy. Make that a lot antsy.
“I wasn’t really comfortable, but I was lucky to have teammates who were ready to help me,” Iriana said. “This team always does that, and I found that out right away. I think everyone knew I was nervous, but they helped me and I got through it.”
That first game is one of many memories Iriana will take with her now that her high school career has come to a close.
Along with three other seniors on the Bambies’ softball team, Iriana graduated from the school last week.
The good times as a Bambie are over, the memories will last a lifetime and she’s already missing it.
“The best part about playing here was the team,” Iriana said. “The way we would pick each other up. I would need it just about every game. Anytime something went wrong, we all picked each other up.
“They did it for me when I was starting out, so I tried to use that leadership when I got older. I think I was a leader pretty early on. I always knew that sometimes you need someone to help you out, so I tried to be there whenever someone else needed it. It’s kind of like the whole team felt the same way.”
That’s probably why they enjoyed so much success.
With Iriana leading the outfield, the Bambies made the Catholic League semifinals a season ago. This year, they went a game better, advancing to the Catholic League finals before losing to Bonner-Prendergast.
They also won the city championship this year by besting Central. Their final game of the year was a loss to Spring-Ford in the first round of the state playoffs.
Overall, the Bambies finished 15–8, including a 10–2 mark in Catholic League play, which was good enough for second place.
“The biggest loss for us was in the Catholic League championship,” Iriana said. “That was the game that we really wanted to win. We wanted to leave with a Catholic League championship. Winning the (city championship) was great because it meant another game, but the one we cared most about was the Catholic League. That was our goal the whole season.”
For Iriana, the whole season flew by. In fact, her entire high school career seemed to go by in a flash.
“I am surprised how fast it went, it’s hard to believe it’s over,” said Iriana, who plays on playing softball in college. “We had some great times. I’ll always remember the trips to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and the bus rides. We had so much fun every year. The team bonded every year, but I think this year we were at our closest.”
Softball isn’t the only thing she’ll miss about high school.
Iriana was on student council every year, including this year, when she was the class secretary, which meant she got to sit on stage during graduation.
The leadership she learned in softball definitely helped her in that position.
“We would have meetings and set agenda proposals for things around the school,” the Pennypack resident said. “”We would get input from the students, but we would be the representatives. And we would run events at school-organized events.
“It wasn’t exactly like being a leader in softball, but there were a lot of things that were the same. Being a leader is the same, but in softball, it’s more of a team thing.”
While her high school career is over, Iriana’s schedule doesn’t lighten up.
She’s headed to Wildwood for the summer, but she’ll make a lot of trips to Philly because she plans on playing softball as much as possible to prepare for college.
She hopes to keep her skills sharp, and continue to expand her softball knowledge, which she feels is the most important aspect of the game.
“Softball is 80 percent mental, I think that’s why girls with more experience play so much better, because it’s all in your head,” said Iriana, who is bound for Holy Family in the fall. “I was lucky to learn so much from our coaches. They do a great job teaching us, but I also tried to learn as much as possible.
“St. Hubert’s was great in a lot of ways, and softball was one of my favorite things. I learned a lot, had a lot of fun and met great teammates. It was great, and that’s why I’m going to miss it so much.”