By Kevin Stone, Contributing Writer
HUDSON – A year ago, Hudson senior softball player Maggie Baker watched as the Class of 2020 had every spring season and special moment ripped away from them.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when Baker was the lone senior being celebrated for Hudson’s senior day in a matchup with Nashoba. It was a day she never could have envisioned after such a tumultuous year.
The Hawks made the postseason tournament this year and were set to travel to Bay Path on June 9 for a first round matchup. Before that, though, both Baker and head coach Laura Bowen reflected on that day, the season and what Baker has meant to the program.
Maggie Baker day
That senior day matchup truly does stick in Baker’s memory as a highlight of this spring softball season. As the team didn’t play at all last year, members of the Class of 2020 never got such a celebration.
“It was really nice to see so many people come that I have grown close to and that have been a part of my softball career,” Baker said of the May 23 celebration known as “Maggie Baker Day.”
“It was even more special since I was playing against some of my best friends on Nashoba,” she added. “I’m very thankful that I got to play since our season was taken from us last year. This year feels like a blessing because I had to watch my friend Jordyn go through that last year and it really taught me to not take anything for granted as it can be taken away from you so fast.”
Having coached Baker through her high school career, Bowen shared kind words.
“Maggie did such an amazing job taking this young group under her wing in the off season to get them ready for this year,” Bowen said. “She is such an amazing role model and I know the kids look up to her so much.
“Not only is she an incredible athlete, but she has a heart of gold,” she noted. “She cares so deeply about everyone and has so much pride in this program.”
Setting the tone for the future
Competitors always want to win, but whether the Hudson squad made the tournament this year or not was irrelevant, which is saying a lot based on the program’s recent success.
Simply getting on the field was a huge win this year in itself for any program. Both Baker and Bowen understood that. Not only was Baker a role model for a young squad, but she’s been a huge part of Bowen’s growth as a coach too.
“Maggie has become like a little sister to me over the years. She is truly a coach’s dream,” Bowen said. “She takes so much pride in this team and plays with so much heart. People like her are the reason I coach. I know I can speak for the team that she will be deeply missed by all of us and has absolutely left a mark on this program for a lifetime.”
When they spoke with the Community Advocate, Bowen and Baker still had yet to start their postseason. Baker’s graduation remained top of mind though.
“I think these young kids have really looked up to Maggie all year and just the way she loves the game and how much respect she has playing for Hudson,” she added. “I know she instilled what playing for Hudson means in their minds. I couldn’t have asked for a better role model for this young group.”
Players, coaches, fans, student sections, media members and anyone who missed being a part of the athletic community over the past year has reveled in the ability to return to games this spring. The Hudson softball squad is no different. Baker and her teammates made sure to enjoy every single moment.
“This year was special as our team became very close after winning the state championship in 2019, so we were eager to get back and play together again,” Baker added. “It’s just nice to be able to come back to a group of people that i know will be here for me.”
Baker will be heading to Eastern Connecticut State in the fall and playing softball. But for now, she’s the big sister to a group of girls embracing the strange journey that has been the 2021 season and the little sister to a coach in charge of leading the way through it all.