Senior Comeback for Rosemead’s Hernandez
By Tim Peterson
June 7, 2013 • 536 views
Nothing could deter Karah Hernandez from having a successful senior season on the softball diamond for the Rosemead Lady Panthers in 2013.
It was a year in which Rosemead won only three games and just one in Mission Valley League, and yet Hernandez pressed on. It was a season in which Hernandez was asked to play two positions, sometimes three, to help out a team that was struggling and she did so with no questions asked. And of course there was last year.
Yeah, there was 2012 – a year that Hernandez didn’t play at all because she was academically ineligible. That alone could have crushed the hopes and dreams of many people to continue to play the sport you love but Hernandez used it as motivation.
“Last year was horrible. It hurt every game and I didn’t want to go to practice, I didn’t want to participate in anything. But this year I was so excited to get back on the field,” Hernandez said. “I think I cried after every game last year. But this year I kept my grades up, that’s for sure. I stayed for tutoring and I played summer ball and that really helped.”
To say Hernandez “bounced back” in 2013 is to say the Baltimore Ravens had a “pretty good” year least season. She hit .456 with an on base percentage of .523 and was also named team captain. Hernandez referred to herself as a batter that hits for average but she has some pop as well. She belted three home runs while driving in 12 runs. Defensively she split time playing centerfield and shortstop and had 62 combined assists and putouts. She also spent some time at second base. For all of this she was nominated for all CIF and earned all league honors.
“I prefer centerfield. I like to run and be more on edge and not knowing when the ball is going to come. I like to be in charge of just my two outfielders and keep it simple,” said Hernandez of the two positions.
Hernandez was all area player two years ago as a sophomore and despite the year away from competitive play she returned better than ever. She has been playing the sport since she was four years old and now, after a big senior season she has earned the opportunity to play at the next level. In 2014 Hernandez will be patrolling the outfield for Pasadena City College.
It’s been a dream of Hernandez to play in college ever since she first put on the cleats.
“I’m excited for more competitive play because we’ve never really been competitive here. It’s always been a real fun game and I’ve played a lot with that but I’m looking forward to being competitive,” said Hernandez. “Usually in college that’s the one thing that people focus on is one sport. It’s not like in High School where they can do a bunch of different things.”
Being a senior to most people means a last chance, a final opportunity, one last shot to make that big splash. But Hernandez didn’t look at it that way. For her it was more a matter of getting it back to the way things were, of returning to normal.
“I didn’t think the senior year was a big thing. I thought how great my sophomore year went and just to wanted to compete with that,” stated Hernandez.”Basically I didn’t think I could do it because I was out for a full season and I really didn’t give it my all being ineligible. So I was just more worried about being at the same level as my sophomore year.”
Throughout the whole journey Karah’s father Tony Hernandez has been right there by her side. Through the little leagues of Arcadia and Sierra Madre, through the endless hours of games and practices on numerous Southern California softball fields and on into high school where Tony served as an assistant coach.
“A lot of people think that with my Dad being a coach he gives me special treatment but it’s the exact opposite,” Hernandez said. “He pushes me lot more than the other girls. I mean I think it’s hard for him to be a coach because he hasn’t cheered for me in four years, so it’s going to different when he’s just a fan.”
“It’s hard to be impartial and not to show favoritism sometimes. But deep down she knows how much I root for her,” Tony Hernandez said about his experience as a coach. “The ups and downs we’ve been through, her being ineligible, but that’s the way life goes. She has learned some hard lessons and she has learned about character and humility.”
So what does Karah Hernandez do after her softball playing days are done? She has that figured out too She’s going to be a juvenile hall counselor, something that traits like character and humility will serve her well.
“I’ve been inspired to do that. One of my brothers has autism and I feel I can work with either special ed or the other (troubled kids.) I feel I can connect with either one,” she said.
And of course after all the trials and tribulations of the last couple of years Karah has a role model that she’s always looked up to to carry her through. No, it’s not Kobe Bryant or LeBron James or Clayton Kershaw or even Jennie Finch.
“Just my Dad,” Hernandez said. Why, of course!