Four months after four North Central Texas College softball players were killed in a bus crash, their teammates are still coping with the loss as they begin a new season.
“We will always have them in our hearts,” said assistant softball coach Taylor Christian. “But taking it each step that we need to get on and get to do what we love, and that's playing softball.”
Last September, the Lady Lions were returning home from a game in Oklahoma when a semi crossed the median on Interstate 35 and slammed into the team bus. Teammates Brooke Deckard, Jaiden Pelton, Meagan Richardson and Katelynn Woodlee were killed.
“I think about them all the time,” said sophomore player Rachel Hitt. “Every day it crosses my mind.”
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The past four months have been tough for the team, but they look forward going into a new season.
Sophomore player Bailey Buchanan said that while “every day is a difficult day, especially walking through the dorm rooms and not seeing their faces or hearing their laugh," playing in memory of their friends could be cathartic.
“Every game is for them,” said Buchanan. “It’s not just for us. It’s not just for the wins. It’s for our four girls. We are honoring them every single game.”
The Lady Lions will play their first game of the season Friday against Southwestern Assemblies of God University at home.
“I love the fact that they’re watching over us and just knowing that we're playing for them,” said Hitt.