The softball field is a familiar place for Sydney Seratte and Dequesne Sprow, both 19. They have spent their last 10 summers playing softball and have been a part of the Lawrence Phenix since the team started nine years ago.
Sprow and Seratte, both 2007 LHS graduates, got started in softball because of family ties. Sprow's parents competed in slow-pitch softball, and Seratte's father, Steve Seratte, is the assistant coach for the 18-and-under Phenix.
"My dad is pretty much a baseball freak," Seratte said. "He kind of got me out on the field, and he's helped me a lot. He just knows a lot about the game."
But this Phenix season will be the last for Sprow, a sophomore-to-be at Kansas University, and Seratte, a sophomore at UMKC.
"I'm sad, " Sprow said. "It's going to be different. I'm used to softball taking up my entire summer. The coaches really watched Sydney and me grow up."
Neither plans to play softball in college, but they will not leave the field completely.
"I'm sure I'll always play a little bit or coach, maybe help out my dad," Seratte joked. "I'll always be doing something though."
"We're really going to miss those two," head coach Randy Fyler said. "They're just fun to be around."
In their final season for the Phenix, they have taken their role as leaders to heart.
"We've really tried to get the older kids to realize their role on the team," Fyler said. "We tell them they need to accept the younger ones, and they need to teach them and point them in the right direction. These girls really did that."
Seratte said her favorite part of softball was just being a part of a team and getting the opportunity to encourage her teammates.
"Softball's really cool because you're pretty much automatic friends once you get out there on the field, and you have to work together," she said. "We're all really close friends. We've won a lot, and we've lost a lot, but we just enjoy being on the field together."
Both players have fond memories of their time with the Phenix.
"We joke around all the time," Sprow said. "We just make each other laugh."
Seratte recalls a time when her coaches used an interesting tactic to wake up the players for an early-morning game.
"We would always lose our 8 o'clock games on Sundays so one morning they made us all jump in the pool at 6 a.m. just to try to get us ready for the game," she said. "It didn't work, but it was still fun."
Rounding out their final season, they showed their leadership and spirit Tuesday as they competed in the North American Fastpitch Association's "B" National Championships at the Clinton Lake Softball Complex.
In their opening game, the Phenix lost, 2-0, to the Oklahoma Pride from the Oklahoma City area. The Phenix then faced off against the Columbus Bullets, but couldn't overcome their opponent's devastating seven runs in the fourth inning. Seratte contributed one of the team's only runs and also stepped in as pitcher for starter Miranda Cobell in the fourth inning.
"I didn't warm up a single pitch before we started so it was kind of cold turkey," Seratte said. "I just tried to get as many outs as possible and close out the game."
The Phenix will play the Riley County Falcons at 10:30 a.m. today in their final pool game before entering double-elimination bracket play.