Bronco Senior Lela Work makes final game memorable

Bronco Senior Lela Work makes final game memorable
Boise, IDAHO - In her final game as a Bronco, softball senior Lela Work hit the game-tying home run, and recorded a school record 12th save of the season as Boise State beat Nevada 7-6 on senior day.

Work, from Coeur D'Alene, is the only Idaho native on the Boise State roster. While not the first Idaho player to play for the five-year old softball program, Work is the first to make it to her senior day.

"I've always approached things in a way where I don't stop, I don't quit," Work said before her final practice Wednesday.

Despite her native Idaho roots, two of Work's teammates actually live closer to home by car (Provo, Utah and Sparks, Nev.). Coach Erin Thorpe seemed surprised when asked about the distinction of being the team's only Idaho player.

"We don't really consider any of our girls as being an in-state kid or out-of-state kid," Thorpe said. "Once they're here, it doesn't impact us much, so you bringing that up seems like an odd thought to me."

Primarily appearing in relief her first three seasons, Work started 12 games as a senior, going 7-7 in 27 total appearances.

"She's just been one of those athletes that's willing to accept the role in a way this pitching staff needs her to," head coach Erin Thorpe said of Work.

In her final game, Work stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 6th inning, trailing 6-5. She hit her 3rd home run of the season to tie the game, and wore a huge smile coming around the bases.

"I kind of realize that it was going to be the last at-bat of my career," Work said.

"Going up to bat I was kind of hoping, 'it would be kind of cool to hit a home run,' but when you're up to bat you can't think like that. When I saw it go over the fence, I was kind of pleased with myself," she continued with a wry smile.

Jordan Krieger followed Work with a home run, and Boise State took a 7-6 lead into the top of the 7th inning, needing just three outs to win the season finale.

Work found herself in a jam. Work hit the leadoff batter, who advanced to third, but was thrown out at home trying to score on an infield base hit.

Then, with Nevada runners at second and third, Makenna Wier reeled in a ball hit up the line, stepped on third base for an out and fired a strike across the diamond to complete the double play, ending the game and the season.

Boise State's three seniors are just the second group of seniors to use all their eligibility as Broncos. Holly Bourke, who also homered in Saturday's win, ends her career as the school's all-time hits and games played leader.

Ashley Collier started the game for one pitch before exiting to loud cheers. Collier had not played since March 17 due to an injury.

As it stands now, next season will be the first since the program's inaugural season without an Idaho native on the roster.

"Softball in the area has been developing rapidly, and we're hoping to actually get some more kids on our roster very soon."