Hogan leaves Hubert’s a champion

Erin Hogan proudly shows off the Catholic League championship. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

High school softball coaches can help players in a lot of ways.

They can teach them to hit a curveball. They can show them how to hit the cutoff man. And they can also help get them into college.

But for Erin Hogan, her softball coach did a lot more for her. And he continues to help her every day.

“When I was a freshman in warmups, I got hit by a line drive by a teammate,” Hogan said. “I don’t remember anything about it. I was knocked out and I had a seizure. My coach (Dave Schafer) had to give me CPR. I was taken to (St. Christopher’s) hospital. I really didn’t know what happened.

“I had a concussion, my neck was really hurt, I had to get a root canal, I had to do eye therapy, physical therapy, and I had bruised ribs from the CPR. It wasn’t his fault, he saved my life! But it took a long time for me to get better.”

Hogan did recover. She also got back on the softball field and this year the shortstop from Mayfair led the St. Hubert High School softball team to a Catholic League championship.

The Bambies thumped Central 14-2 in the District 12 6A championship. Their season came to an end Monday when they fell to Spring-Ford 10-0 in the first round of the state playoffs.

It wasn’t the perfect ending, but it didn’t take the shine off a great season.

“Winning the district was great, but obviously our main goal was to win the Catholic League,” said Hogan, who helped the Bambies make the PCL championship game during her sophomore year but came up short. “The district is always the next goal. It’s good to win that and then go to states.”

Hogan has come a long way to get back on the field. In fact, moments after she was plunked with the ball, softball was the furthest thing from anyone’s mind. The goal was just to have her get better. But a few months after the freak accident, she was back on the field.

It was a long journey back, not just physically, but mentally.

“I really was nervous at first, but what choice did I have?” Hogan said. “I love softball. I knew I wasn’t going to stop playing. I knew I had to go out and play again. I was scared. And I was scared when we played Little Flower again. But everyone helped me and after a few minutes, it was like normal.

“My neck still hurts a little, but that’s it. I feel great now. Luckily, my coach saved my life. I really didn’t know what happened until I woke up in the hospital. It was scary. I’m glad I got through it.”

She more than got through it.

Ever since she returned to the Bambies’ lineup, she’s been a key contributor at the plate and in the field. She’s also been exactly what the team needs as a leader and captain.

In fact, she’s been known to be a great leader in every walk of life.

It’s why she’s a Bambie ambassador and Kairos leader, where she helps with retreats.

She’s carried this over to the softball field, where she’s one of three captains. That’s a role she takes very seriously, and a role that was important when her team lost two of its first three games of the season.

“I wasn’t worried at all, I was confident, I knew we could still win because we had everything we needed to be good,” Hogan said. “I try to be a good leader without yelling or screaming. I can do that, but that’s not what makes a good leader. The main thing is making sure everyone knows what they’re doing and know that we are all there to help each other. It’s not hard leading a team like this.”

She’ll apply those same traits next year when she attends Widener University, where she hopes to get a degree and someday become a psychiatrist.

While the courses will be challenging, she hopes to someday help people. The best bet would be working with children. She also hopes to help people like her brothers, Sean and Ryan, both 15, who are autistic.

“I love working with children, I think that’s something I would enjoy doing,” said Hogan, who plans on working as a babysitter over the summer. “It’s a job where you can help people, but you also give people the ability to help themselves. It’s a way you can really change someone’s life for the better.”

While she’ll no longer be a member of the Hubert’s softball team, she’ll still be available to help. She’ll always be a Bambie and plans on remaining friends with her younger teammates and her coaches.

“The coaches have been so great,” said Hogan, who got certified in CPR after her accident freshman year. “Coach Schafer has been so great. All of the coaches. They’re the best coaches I’ve ever had. They helped me so much.

“I’m going to miss everything about this school. The softball team was special. It meant a lot to win (the Catholic League) this year. I’m glad we did that together.”