Sowell's swing creates special moment

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By Sam Draut

The unscripted nature of sports is what makes it so encapsulating to me and so many of its viewers. There are moments that seem to reverberate beyond the game that’s being played, and though those moments may be few and far between, they’re special.

Last Thursday, Oldham County softball honored the life of Pam Sowell, the mother of senior shortstop DeLaney Sowell, who passed away in her sleep while on the team’s spring break trip to Florida. Pam Sowell had been a prominent parent on the team, serving as the booster representative and concession manager for four years, while her husband, JM, is an assistant coach on the team.

DeLaney Sowell didn’t play in the Lady Colonels’ win over North Oldham last Thursday night, but returned to the field this weekend for the Lady Dragon Classic at South Oldham, setting up one of those unplanned special moments.

In her first at-bat against Trimble County last Saturday, Sowell lifted a ball over the right field fence for a home run. A home run is a funny thing, it halts the game and everyone’s attention turns to the hitter who just announced to the world that they are powerful as they trot around the bases.

She had a smile on her face, it’s hard to find a moment when she doesn’t, as she rounded the bases. It was Sowell’s first home run since her freshman year, and considering how difficult everything has been for her the past few weeks, some feelings opened up.

“It was emotional, so I started tearing up,” Sowell said.

On her trip around the bases, Sowell first passed her father, the team’s first base coach and then after rounding third, she went passed Oldham County coach Steve Leanhart.

“I told her to ‘look up,’ that was her mother up there, she goes to the plate every time and writes P, her mom’s initial,” Leanhart said. “She is thinking about her every time she is going up to the plate.”

When she reached home, the entire Lady Colonel team encircled around her and celebrated the two-run home run.

“They all gave me hugs as soon as I came in, they started tearing up,” Sowell said. “It was a great feeling.”

Before hitting the home run, Sowell said she was trying to focus and stay calm while making sure she didn’t over swing. The result of the swing ended over the fence.  

“When I hit it, it felt good and it went pretty far,” Sowell said. “It felt like a home run. I am pretty weak so I was just crossing my fingers.”

Though the home run was the pinnacle moment of the weekend, it was quite a two-day stretch for Sowell. She went 7 for 12 with three doubles, two triples and a home run, driving in six runs and scoring another four.

“She probably had the best tournament I have seen her play,” Leanhart said. “For her to come back Friday and play as she did, it’s amazing. She is a special kid.”

After spending more than a week away from softball, Sowell didn’t expect to play as well as she did.

“I have been pretty rusty,” Sowell said. “I was just trying to not strikeout every at bat.”

The Lady Colonels won all four games in the Lady Dragon Classic to win the six-team tournament and improve their record to 18-2, but the highlight of the weekend had to be the return of a teammate and the special moment that followed.