Sandlot Maricopa honors Hydie Fernandez this weekend

The Maricopa Sandlot team, Suheiry "Hydie" Fernandez, in a red shirt, stands with her teammates. [submitted]

This weekend, Sandlot Maricopa is honoring Suheiry “Hydie” Fernandez, the 10-year-old girl who tragically lost her life on March 31 following an accident on State Route 347.

Coaches, parents and community members have come together to host a two-day softball tournament at Copper Sky on June 2 and 3.

Following Hydie’s passing, Coach Mike O’Dell and his team felt compelled to rally around Hydie’s family.

“Being the softball community that we are, it was natural,” O’Dell said. “It was an easy decision.”

Eight youth teams from across Arizona will compete on Saturday – coming from Vail, Phoenix, Chandler and Mesa to show their support.

And on Sunday, about 60 adults signed up to participate in adult sandlot.

Raffles, concessions, food trucks and commemorative t-shirts will also be available for attendees to purchase. All funds raised will go to the Fernandez family.

Hydie was primarily the pitcher and cleanup hitter and possessed an infectious spirit on the diamond.

“She was a cheerleader,” O’Dell said. “She was always happy, always energetic, always fooling around but willing to put in the work.”

The enduring significance of Hydie is symbolized by her jersey number, #16, which is often etched in the dirt or donned under the eyes of her teammates using eye black.

“She’s always there,” O’Dell said. “The girls are not letting her go.”

They have created cheers and chants – “H.Y.D.I.E. hit it for Hydie, hit it for Hydie” – to keep her spirit on the field and in their minds.

Expressing his gratitude, O’Dell thanked the community, Coach Cody and the team moms for their unwavering support.

In the future, O’Dell envisions the event growing, with plans to incorporate multiple teams and age groups to foster an environment where families can come together and find solace.