Adriana Hernandez: Four years of fastballs, injuries, and fighting
Hamilton High School senior shortstop Adriana Hernandez is steps away from pain in the top of the fifth inning in a game against the Westchester Comets. The Comet baserunner breaks for second to steal the base, Hernandez breaks to stop her.
She's run this path before with the only incident resulting from it being an out.
Hernandez leaps towards the ball.
As Adriana lands, the runner slides into her knee tearing her Anterior Cruciate Ligament, meniscus, and inflicts a bone contusion.
Adriana cannot play for the rest of the season. She will miss senior day. She will deal with the effects of this injury for the rest of her life.
“I’m a religious person so when I injured my knee I was always questioning why it happened to me," Hernandez said.
One year after the fateful collision on the Westchester High softball field, Hernandez worked back from the injury to lead the Santa Monica College Corsairs to their only three wins in the season.
Hernandez soon learned a lot about herself from her injury. She loves softball. The months away from the game were brutal to her.
“I was indoor all day doing 'baby' workouts. It was mentally frustrating and it changed my life completely. I wasn’t the same person after. I became more strict and passionate,” Hernandez said.
“I would cry every 20 minutes and be so depressed all summer because I couldn’t go out, train, or play for the teams I wanted to play," Hernandez elaborated.
Her boyfriend, Marcus Wilson, a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball farm system, helped her through these months as she began to grow pessimistic as she was trapped away from the field.
Not only would Wilson tell her words of encouragement and help her with her physical therapy; he would help Hernandez practice during his time in the off-season.
"He told me if there was someone to get through it it would be me," Hernandez said.
In the darkness of rehab, Hernandez found salvation through teaching.
She coaches young girls ranging from five to 13 years at Baseball Central in Venice.
As she works during the week to help the careers of other future players, Hernandez hasn't forgotten about her own.
She's playing shortstop for The Santa Monica College Corsair's. Hernandez has only been playing a year and despite her injury she is still being scouted by colleges. She plans to finish her education here at SMC then transfer on to Azusa Pacific University to play softball and study broadcasting journalism.
She will be the first in her family to graduate college and aims to be a sports reporter.
When Hernandez isn't busy coaching future athletes or focused on her studies, she trains.
"Right now, I am training for a tryout in late June with The Junior National Mexican League and that’s what I’m hoping to make because I would be able to play in Mexico and for The Junior National World Series," she said with excitement in her eyes.
She denotes her knee injury to her advancements. It changed her life. "It taught me to accept everything that comes my way and make it into a positive thing."
Adriana will return to play for The Corsairs until she transfers to APU.
You will be able to see her on the field next season and she will be wearing the brace that carries her greatest lesson.
"I learned I shouldn’t question and accept [the injury] because everything happens for a reason,” Hernandez said.