Odessa High graduate Skylar Herrera felt anxious and excited when she was called up to play some exhibition games against the USA softball team in Midland.
Herrera and three of her teammates at Lubbock Christian are members of Team Alliance as part of Team USA’s 2020 Stand Beside Her Tour.
Team Alliance is made up of collegiate athletes from across the country.
The call up to the squad meant Herrera would return to play near the area where she first made a name for herself.
Before her high school graduation in 2019, Herrera was a standout all-around athlete for the Lady Bronchos, excelling on the basketball court and the diamond.
She was a four-year all-district selection in softball, earning many awards before deciding to take the next step at Lubbock Christian.
Herrera was the District 2-6A Defensive MVP in 2018 and the co-District 2-6A MVP her senior season.
“It’s a super great feeling, I’m super blessed to be a part of this team,” Herrera said at a press conference before Team Alliance faced Team USA on Friday. “There are some really great athletes that I’m getting to learn from and getting to step on the same field as them, it’s really a great feeling.”
Odessa High softball coach Rachel Pena knew Herrera was a special player from the moment the infielder joined the team as a freshman.
Pena described Herrera as an athlete who is very talented with no limit to her growth.
“When we got Skylar as a freshman, we knew we had that type of kid,” Pena said.
Although Herrera didn’t get any playing time during the first day of the Stand Beside Her Tour’s Midland stop, Pena was excited for her former player to get the opportunity to share a field with some of the world’s best softball players.
“I’ve always believed that Skylar can do anything and play with anyone,” Pena said. “I’m excited to get to see that and for everyone else to get to see what she can do.”
Before Team Alliance’s first doubleheader with Team USA, Herrera hadn’t talked with her former head coach in a few weeks but she knew she would be in Midland to support her.
In two years at Lubbock Christian, Herrera has made a big impact offensively and defensively.
She has hit 12 home runs for the Lady Chaps, with 64 RBIs and contributing 117 put outs as a middle infielder.
Since Herrera’s younger sister currently goes to Odessa High, that gives Pena a chance to keep up with her former player to see how her career is progressing.
Pena didn’t get the opportunity to see Herrera play at Lubbock Christian because of scheduling conflicts with the Lady Bronchos’ schedule in the spring.
So the coach made plans to catch the second day of Team Alliance’s games against Team USA.
Some current Lady Bronchos softball players also looked to catch Herrera in action during the second doubleheader of the Midland tour stop.
Pena said Herrera is already setting a good example for players going through the Odessa High softball program.
“One of the things I stress to our kids is that high school is not the peak of your performance, you still have college and even more if you’re capable,” Pena said.
Before Team Alliance took the field for its first batting practice Friday, Herrera recalled seeing a lot of the names on the Team USA roster when she was growing up.
Being face to face with those players is a moment the infielder is grateful for.
“I’ve always had big dreams, but I never knew when they would come true or if they would come true,” Herrera said. “Now that they’re getting to come true, it’s just an amazing feeling.”
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