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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Making Memories: WCWS proves to be special in many ways

Riley+Sartains+lone+childhood+trip+to+the+WCWS+was+in+2008%2C+A%26amp%3BMs+last+appearance+in+Oklahoma+City.
Photo by By Lawrence Smelser

Riley Sartain’s lone childhood trip to the WCWS was in 2008, A&M’s last appearance in Oklahoma City.

Texas A&M head coach Jo Evans has one memory that stands out from her last trip to the Women’s College World Series in 2008.
“Upsetting Florida in the ninth inning, scoring the big run and shutting them down in the bottom of the ninth to get to the National Championship series,” Evans said Tuesday. “That’s a memory I’ll never forget and I’ll never forget those four seniors the way they led our team to that National Championship series.”
Nine years later, Evans’ Aggies are returning to Oklahoma City and first up – Florida.
While A&M rested on the strong play of its seniors during its national runner-up finish in 2008, the maroon and white now turns to younger players this time around.
Little did Evans know, however, that one of her future players would have a lasting impression of one of those special seniors – third baseman and All-American Jamie Hinshaw.
That future player was sophomore Riley Sartain, the Aggies’ current third baseman, who made it a goal to play on the same field Hinshaw did after watching her play during her lone visit to the WCWS.
“I saw Jamie Hinshaw and she was the third baseman for A&M at that time and I was just in complete awe,” Sartain recalled. “I said one day I will go to A&M, I will play softball and I will go to the College World Series.”
Now Sartain will be playing in the same area one her inspirations did nearly a decade ago.
For some A&M players though, this will be their first time at the WCWS, including junior first baseman Tori Vidales.
Vidales has actually played at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium before, including last summer at the World Cup of Softball for Team Mexico. Her first trip to the hallowed field, however, was in 2009 for a summer league tournament one week after Washington had won the national championship.
“There was still confetti on the ground,” Vidales said. “My mom gathered dirt from the field and put it in a Gatorade bottle, so it’s pretty cool now that I get to play on that field.”
The 12-ounce purple Gatorade bottle soon became a memento Vidales would keep forever, finding a spot on a stand in her mother’s kitchen.
Although Vidales seldom thought about the bottle, the constant sight of it reminded her of a goal she had for her career.
“It’s been on our little mantle in the kitchen for a long time and as I eat dinner I look at it,” Vidales said. “I don’t even think about it anymore, but I think when I was little it was just engrained in my head that I need to work for this, this is what I wanted to do. For me it wasn’t that physical reminder, just a constant fight to know I wanted this since I was a little girl.”
Now that the Aggies are Bricktown-bound, it’s time to make more memories. Since none of the current players have experienced being a part of the WCWS as athletes, Evans noted how critical it was her team soak everything in before hand in order to be 100 percent prepared come Thursday morning.
“What I want us to do is have a lot of fun in the pre-tournament festivities,” Evans said. “Go have fun at the picnic, go have fun practicing on the field, have a good time being in Oklahoma City. Take it all in and then when we get on the field, we’re locked in, it’s game day.”
The Aggies will face No. 1 Florida in the opening round of the WCWS Thursday at 11:00 a.m.

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