By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Emma Cordero had a funny story, but one thing is that you can’t fault her to doing whatever she can to help her team win.
It was her freshman year and it all started in Medford at the North Medford Spring Break Invitational. Cordero had just finished up going through her catching warm-up routine prior to one of their games at the Invitational and she was just standing around.
South Salem Softball Head Coach Scott McCormick told her to go out to the outfield to catch some foul balls. She did. But here’s where it went sour. A grounder came her way, bounced up and hit her in the mouth. Chipping and jamming a tooth. Ouch, right?
She kept going and a got it fixed after it was said and done. A few weeks later, against rival-Sprague, she took a knee to the face sliding into third after hitting a triple. Blood was coming out of her mouth, a nearly same injury she suffered earlier in the season.
On her way to get it fixed again, she was telling her parents that she had to go back to catch as she was the starting catcher for the Saxons at the time. She didn’t want to let her team down over an injury. Luckily, the injury happening in the fifth inning, South got enough runs across to end the game without having to go down that road.
Fast forward a few years and here she was, having the story told on Monday afternoon in the library as she signed her Letter of Intent to play softball at Western Oregon University.
“It’s huge for me. I’m also a huge competitor, I’m a really competitive person and with that in mind, it gets me going. I get fired up for my team and it got me this far,” smiled Cordero. “This year, I want to finish strong and help out my teammates for my last year and I want to finish with a big bang.
“Into college…it’s my last four years play, and I want to go all out no matter what and help out my new teammates.”
That competitive side of Cordero has helped her being versatile on the diamond with her prep career drawing to a close in the coming weeks. Having played all over the infield and have played several games at third base this season for the Saxons, who currently sit 8-5 overall and 1-1 in Mountain Valley Conference play heading into Tuesday’s game with Sprague on the road.
“It’s really helped us out. I’ve played a bunch of positions my whole life and just knowing (McCormick) had faith in me that I could play anywhere. Like ‘ok. I’ll play there and help the team out’,” Cordero said. “I’ve always had my teammates backs, so I always had my teammates in mind and that’s how it went.”
But all-and-all, Cordero knows that all of the blood, sweat and tears that she’s poured into this sport has finally paid off as she put pen-to-paper and knowing she’s not quite finish yet with her softball career beyond this season.
“It feels great with all the hard work I’ve done since like third-grade has paid off,” Cordero said. “I never knew what was going to happen with my career in softball, but now I’m here and I’ve never been more grateful.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald