Though Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky often dreamed of what it would be like to hit her first home run, she never imagined it would end with the opposing team carrying her around the bases. In fact, her home run almost didn’t become a reality, except for the sportsmanship of Central Washington players Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace.
Sara’s home run came in the second inning of the second game of a double header between the two teams. At stake that weekend was a bid to the NCAA's Division II playoffs. Central Washington needed to win the second game to keep its postseason dreams alive.
When Sara hit her long-awaited home run, players on second and third both ran home, whooping in celebration. Sara, in her excitement, over-ran first base. But when she turned quickly to go back, her right knee gave out. Sara went down in agony just a few feet from first base.
Sara was clearly injured and unable to walk on her own. Her coaches and teammates debated what to do. If Western Oregon trainers, coaches or players helped her up, she would be out. If they substituted a pinch-runner, her home run would be counted as a two-run single. Either way, Sara would lose the only home run of her career.
Central Washington player Mallory Holtman was also a senior—and her school’s career leader in home runs. After four years, she knew the rules of the game and quickly realized there was just one way for Sara’s home run to count.
“Excuse me,” Mallory interrupted the debating umpires and coaches. “Would it be OK if we carried her around and she touched each bag?”
The surprised officials agreed. Mallory and teammate Liz Wallace promptly picked Sara up, gingerly letting her left foot down to touch each of the bases to get her home run.
This act of sportsmanship contributed to Central’s loss. Still, there were no regrets or angry words from Mallory’s teammates. They all agreed—helping the opponent was simply the right thing to do. And the crowd—which had heckled Sara for her diminutive size when she stepped up to bat—agreed, too. When the threesome arrived at home plate, they were greeted with a standing ovation, creating a memory no one at that day’s game will ever forget.
Sportsmanship. Pass It On!
This billboard about Sportsmanship features Sara Tucholsky, Mallory Holtman, Liz Wallace.