As Razorback softball prepares to travel for the opening tournament, one player has been reconnected with two players who used to be cross-town rivals.
Ever since coach Courtney Deifel became the head softball Hog in 2016, California has been where multiple softball players call home. For the 2019 season, there are 10 players that have traveled from the West coast to the Hill to play in the SEC.
While many of these long-distance athletes may face the challenges of being in a new environment, one freshman already feels at home due to former cross-town rivals making their name known on the diamond.
Freshman outfielder Sam Torres has made the trip to Fayetteville from her hometown in Temecula, California. Two of her teammates, sophomore catcher Kayla Green and junior pitcher Autumn Storms, also call Temecula home.
This isn’t the first time that Torres and Green have played on the same team. During her freshman year at Chaparral High School, the two played travel ball for Southern California Athletics under Green’s father.
“Ever since I came here last fall, Autumn (Storms) and Kayla (Green) have shown me the ropes around here,” Torres said. “They’re both so sweet and caring and I’m thankful to call them my best friends.”
However, most of the time spent on the diamond for Torres, Green and Storms has been in opposite dug-outs.
Torres left So-Cal Athletics and went to play for another travel team following her freshman year. Torres however, continued to meet Green and Storms throughout high school as cross-town rivals. For Green, it was always a good time to be right next to Torres on the plate, she said.
“We had been playing together for years so playing against each other in high school was fun,” Green said. “We would always talk to each other on the field. While I was catching, I would make her (Torres) laugh while she hit.”
During her career at Chaparral, Torres was a two-time offensive MVP and was named to the All-Southwestern League Second Team twice. In 29 games as a freshman, she recorded 39 hits and finished with a .494 average. Over the next few years, Torres continued to grow as a playmaker, with 117 hits, a .483 average and a .557 slugging percentage.
Just like how she became best friends with Green and Storms back home, Torres has found the same type of community with her new teammates, she said.
“It feels like one big family,” Torres said. “You can rely with anyone on the team about anything. You can go to anyone about your problems or if you need help with anything. We’re all there for each other and that’s the part that I love.”
Green is excited to see Torres make her debut at Bogle Park and for all of good times that are ahead, she said.
“She is the homie and I love that girl,” Green said. “She is always positive and always has your back. She is a great competitor and I can’t wait to see her play this year. I’m glad she’s on my team.”