Being a student-athlete at Long Beach State teaches a lot to the students and holds memories they will forever hold.
Senior softball player, outfielder Naomi Hernandez has played for The Beach for five seasons and she has left a remarkable impression on and off the softball field at LBSU.
Hernandez came from Norco High School, where she was a four-year starter. In her senior year, she hit .509 with 27 RBI and held a school record of 43 runs scored. Hernandez also led her team to a 33-1 overall record as a senior, reaching the CIF Southern Section finals.
Since arriving at The Beach in 2018, she felt a connection with the coaches and staff from the start. She had an amazing first season where she was named the Big West Freshman Player of the Year.
She continued with a great season in 2019 where she earned All-Big West honors for the second season straight and earned Honorable Mentions. In 2020, she started the season with a four-game hitting streak and was part of a team-best nine-game base reached streak.
In 2021, she was a first-team All-Big West selection and earned third-team All-West Region honors as an outfielder.
Throughout her four years playing, Hernandez was an everyday starter for Long Beach State. She found herself playing different positions on the team before finding her home in the outfield this year.
“I’m very happy with the progress I made with the program, I learned plenty of new things on the field that I will always hold onto,” Hernandez said.
Andy Fee, the executive director of athletics, highlights her consistency and is proud of the rewarding progress she has on the team.
“One thing I will always remember about Naomi is how consistent she is, she always delivered,” Fee said. “When you can count on someone like Naomi, it’s a reminder that you have the right people in your program.”
Out of many memories at The Beach, her favorite was when her team recently won the conference championship in 2021.
“It was a surreal moment, and it was one of the most fun moments I had with my team,” Hernandez said. “Especially because of the team itself, the connections, and friendships I made from the team are the biggest highlights and biggest memory I will forever take from here.”
Hernandez is pursuing a career in nursing, but still plans to have a connection with softball by teaching private lessons for younger players to assist them in their hitting and fielding.
Best friend and former teammate who played at LBSU two years ago, Jamie Wren, also hosts private lessons and invited Hernandez to start a business with her.
“To have her join me would be amazing and I think she would do great,” Wren said.”It would be just like old times, both being on the same team.”
When Wren first transferred to LBSU in 2017, Hernandez was a freshman. They both had a lot in common from the start, as both were outfielders and lefty hitters.
Wren always turned to Hernandez to get extra work after practices, and both helped each other improve. They became best friends.
“It was amazing having her by my side pushing me to be a better player. She was a loyal teammate and I was honored to be able to have shared the field with her,” Wren said.
Hernandez is keeping her options open after graduation with private softball lessons and working a full-time job. She currently works for a nonprofit organization called Higher Ground, an at-risk family development center where she works with kids.
Hernandez is adjusting and letting go of her career at The Beach but looks forward to staying in contact with the staff and team.
“I’m excited to see the new girls come in and take over, it’s definitely a bittersweet moment,” Hernandez said. “I wish them the best of luck in the years to come.”
Leaving behind an incredible stat board, after graduation her dream is to travel, get out into the world and see novel places.
“Even when she leaves and finishes her playing career at The Beach,” Fee said. “She will always have a stat board that is unbelievable.”