San Antonio – In what probably seems like a lifetime ago for the St. Mary’s softball player, Shelly Lee Zawadzki cemented her place in Rattler lore last April.
Recording the final at-bat of a regularly scheduled game at St. Mary’s Softball Field before construction was set to begin for the university’s new outdoor sports complex, Zawadzki – unmarried and still just “Shelly Lee” at the time – slapped a hit up the middle to drive in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning of a must-win game against St. Edward’s.
Flash forward to Friday, when the Rattlers were unexpectedly back at their former home field for an impromptu game against Emporia State after rain made the schedule site unplayable, Zawadzki nearly made magic once again.
Representing the go-ahead run with a base runner at third and two away in the bottom of the eighth inning, Zawadzki flew out in a 4-3 loss to Emporia State on a day in which she and the Rattlers battled back from a 3-0 deficit midway through to force extra innings.
Nicole Sardelich (Fr., Angelton, Texas) doubled in the sixth inning to drive in two runs that turned a 3-1 hole into a 3-3 deadlock. Earlier, Zawadzki (Jr., San Antonio) drove in a run in the fourth to put the Rattlers (1-2) on the board.
St. Mary’s ace Emily Brittain (So., Corpus Christi, Texas) went the distance, striking out three in the loss.
That the Rattlers overcame Emporia State’s three third-inning runs to force extra softball was impressive. That they were able to get in the game at all was downright astounding.
The game, originally scheduled to be played at Incarnate Word as part of UIW’s tournament, was rained out along with the rest of the day’s action – including a classic Rattlers-Cardinals showdown – due to the field being unplayable.
But determined to get in the game, St. Mary’s and Emporia State turned to other options.
Though the Rattlers will play their entire home schedule off campus this season, they have been able to continue practicing at their old digs before construction begins. So in need of a field Friday, the Rattlers’ groundskeeping crew quickly got to work to make it game-ready.
Only a few hours after they were originally scheduled to be playing at UIW, the Rattlers and Emporia State were playing ball.
And shortly thereafter, Zawadzki helped take us all back to a hallmark moment.