Hattie Marshall did not want the sun to set on her Newport Harbor High softball career before picking up her first Sunset League win.
The numbers were staggeringly against Marshall, a senior pitcher and co-captain, and the Sailors coming into the 2013 season. They hadn't won a league game in six years, losing 52 in a row.
It reached 53 straight league losses before the Sailors played host to Fountain Valley on April 11. The resulting 6-5 victory sent a wide range of emotions through Marshall, who pitched the complete game and went two for three with three runs batted in.
"It was kind of like relief in a way," she said. "Well, not relief. When you finally accomplish a goal you have, you're kind of in a moment of ecstasy and nirvana. We were all crying together after we won it."
Ending the streak was definitely a highlight for the four-year starter, but there were others. Marshall, bound for Concordia University, became the first Newport-Mesa player since Julianne Bass and Ashley Gleason in 2005 to play in the Orange County Coaches All-Star Softball Classic.
And she and the Sailors also reasserted their dominance in the Battle of the Bay, racking up their sixth straight win over rival Corona del Mar. Marshall made sure she didn't lose to the Sea Kings in her high school career.
"Same with our football team," she said. "All four years, we went undefeated in both sports. That was a nice thing."
Marshall can add one more nice thing to her high school résumé. For the second straight year, she is the is the Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year.
Marshall is the first repeat Player of the Year since Estancia's Taylor West accomplished the feat in 2007 and '08. Marshall definitely earned it. She was an unquestioned leader for Newport Harbor (4-24, 1-9 in league), which played a more difficult nonleague schedule than in her junior year. But Marshall seemed to excel no matter who the Sailors were playing.
She led Newport Harbor in most offensive categories, like batting average (.452), home runs (five) and runs batted in (18). She added a team-best six doubles and had a .518 on-base percentage. As a pitcher, she had a 4.02 earned-run average.
Marshall, a three-time Dream Team honoree, also earned first-team All-Sunset League honors for the second straight year.
"Hattie played an important role in all of our successes," Newport Harbor Coach Russell Hartman wrote in an email. "She was our No. 3 hitter all year and always seemed to get the clutch hit when we needed it. She always was able to take her performance to the next level when the competition was tougher."
She stayed the course, even when the Sailors had players transfer out of the program or decide not to play in the past couple of years. Marshall was the Sailors' starting pitcher for three full years, starting her sophomore year after Alex Bauer decided to stop playing softball and compete in rowing.
Now she will take her talents to Concordia, which won the NAIA national championship this year. Concordia graduates Katie Cotta, the Golden State Athletic Conference and NAIA Pitcher of the Year who set an NAIA season record with 11 no-hitters.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Marshall said. "I definitely have some big shoes to fill."
If her high school career is any indication, she will step up to the challenge.
Here are the other 10 members of the 2013 Newport-Mesa Softball Dream Team: