PADUCAH, KY -- UT Martin senior pitcher Hannah Ridolfi was one of hundreds of seniors across the country that were given the opportunity to return for an extra year of eligibility due to the loss of the 2020 season during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I wasn't really sure if I was going to take it depending on where I was job wise," Ridolfi said. "I was like, I might not get to play the sport I love again, and that is when it really hit me."

After careful thought, Ridolfi came to her final decision.

"I decided to take that and come back," she said.

It was a relief. Which was far from where she was when she first learned that the 2020 softball season was canceled.

"I cried to my sister, my friends, my family." said Ridolfi. "Every thing was just heartbreaking, but it does take the sting away."

"It has been a fog," said UT Martin head softball coach Brian Dunn. "It really had been a bit of a fog."

For Dunn, getting Ridolfi back for an extra year is a huge advantage for a coach that will be heading into just his second year with the program.

"We are excited to have her back because it gives us some greater depth," Dunn said. "She is going to be a leader just like she was this year."

Ridolfi has now turned her attention to that extra year and getting ready. However, that is easier said than done while she is currently at home away from campus.

"Me and my dad tried to go buy some weights and stuff," she said. "Every store was sold out, online sold out, so it's having to modify everything."

But regardless, she says she will be ready and have a new perspective once she steps back on the field.

"They say play it like its your last game," Ridolfi said. "You never really know when it is your last game."