By LARRY VAUGHT
Once she decided to take advantage of a NCAA waiver to return to Kentucky for another softball season after COVID-19 halted play in March, Autumn Humes has been telling her family she is a “super senior” because she will go through a senior season again — something UK’s other three seniors off the 2020 team decided not to do.
“It’s going to be weird because I was expecting this year to be my last tournament in Florida, one more west coast trip, Senior Day with the other three seniors. It’s quite strange the circumstances that led to this moment,” Humes said during a Zoom call to discuss her decision to return to UK for the 2021 season. “I believe everything happens for a reason. Maybe next year I will have the best year ever.”
Humes admitted she was “heartbroken” when the virus ended UK’s season in mid-March when Kentucky was showing potential to be a serious threat to reach the College World Series. There was also no word initially about granting players an extra year of eligibility.
“I was fully prepared to never pick up a ball again which was heartbreaking for me,” Humes, a pitcher who also is expected to hit more next season, said. “Then rumors started about the potential to play another year. In my eyes, it was always worth it do that.”
Humes transferred to UK after one season playing Division II softball and needed another semester to finish her degree, so she was already planning on staying at Kentucky through December.
“I didn’t already have anything lined up (like the other seniors) because I still had another semester (to graduate),” Humes said. “It made sense (to come back to play) and all the puzzle pieces just worked.”
That doesn’t mean she won’t miss the seniors off this year’s team but she understands why they are moving on with their lives and not playing another season.
“I am so proud of my fellow used to be seniors,” Humes said. “They are the reason I am who I am today. I have grown so much and learned so much being around them. They are my best friends and I wish we could have had the year we wanted.
“I truly believe my fellow seniors will go out in the real world and kill it. They will be amazing citizens and do great things. We are only athletically inclined for a set amount of time and then we have to put our skills to use and they will.”