Veteran Hoboken High School head softball coach Vinnie Johnson had a good idea that incoming freshman Destiny Colon was going to be a welcome addition to his program this season.
After all, Johnson, who also coordinates the town’s recreation softball program, has watched Colon play since she was a toddler.
“She’s played with me since she was about four years old,” Johnson said of Colon. “So I knew she could play.”
But Johnson had no idea just how much of an impact Colon would make right away.
“I didn’t think she’d be this good this fast,” Johnson said. “I thought she was going to be okay.”
Even Colon had no clue how well she would stack up as a varsity softball player.
“Honestly, I thought it would take some time,” Colon said. “I knew I was going to have a lot of challenges. I knew that there were a lot of girls with a lot more experience than me.”
Colon figured she was going to have to work her way on to the Redwings’ roster, so she took it upon herself to do all the little things for the team, like taking care of the portable bat rack and making sure that the team’s water jugs were filled properly.
“The other girls like it when I take care of the water,” Colon said. “I put a lot of ice in the water to make it nice and cold. The other girls told me that I should continue to do it.”
So sure enough, Destiny Colon became Hoboken’s version of Bobby Boucher – you know, the character that Adam Sandler played in the football farce “The Waterboy.”
“I really thought that freshmen were supposed to do it,” Colon said. “I thought it was part of my job. But I actually like doing it. I don’t mind doing it. It gets my teammates ready for the games.”
There’s another thing that Colon does very well for the Redwings – and it has nothing to do with the proper temperature of the Redwings’ H20. It has to do with hitting the ball.
Colon has been more than just a surprise this season for Johnson and the Redwings. In fact, what Colon has done has been nothing short of shocking.
The freshman designated player has collected 34 hits in 56 at-bats, a robust .607 batting average. She has smacked 11 doubles and three homers. She’s scored 36 runs and stolen 29 bases.
But the most astounding statistic about Colon’s freshman campaign is that she has driven in 43 runs. That’s right, she has driven in an average of two runs per game.
Over the last week, Colon has been unstoppable. She had four RBI in a win over METS Charter, had five hits, scored five runs and had eight RBI against Marist and added two hits, two runs scored and three RBI in a win over Snyder to help the Redwings to improve to 14-4.
For her efforts, Colon has been selected as The Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week for the past week.
Colon is proving that she’s no fluke, having recorded a six-RBI game against Dickinson and also drove home four runs each against Memorial, University Charter and Lincoln.
“She’s a gem,” Johnson said. “She’s been hitting the ball hard all year. She has a good eye at the plate and swings at her pitches. She’s comfortable with who she is.”
Colon has been surprised with her production.
“I’m really surprised,” Colon said. “But I want to do better. I think this is only the beginning of what I can do. This proves to me that my hard work is paying off. It’s been amazing. It’s better than I could have ever imagined.”
“I’m definitely surprised,” Johnson said. “I thought she would be a decent hitter, but nothing like this. She’s on top of every pitch and hits the ball hard.”
Colon is already thinking about the future.
“I think about it all the time,” Colon said. “I always wanted to play softball in college. Maybe I’ll get a chance someday.”
That day is still three years away, but Hoboken’s Water Girl is in no hurry. She has a lot more records to break and water jugs to fill. – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com