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Honoring Eva: Commemorating a 5-Year-Old’s Joyful Spirit with a Home Run Celebration

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Smacking a home run out of the park holds a certain enchantment, a sensation that resonates deeply with the Calallen Lady Cats. However, it’s not just the act of hitting the ball over the fence that defines their team spirit; it’s the heartwarming celebration at home plate that truly illuminates the essence of life.

For Rilyn Gamez, the senior right fielder for Calallen, a home run signifies more than just individual glory. She emphasizes the significance of unity within the team, expressing, “Hitting a home run is one person, but knowing your team is there for you. We all come together because we’re a team. We have to care for each other because if we don’t, it’s not going to work out how we want.”

Alaunah Almaraz, the senior third baseman, sheds light on their special ritual at home plate, saying, “We start jogging to home plate. Well, once I get there, I twirl and the whole team twirls after, and it’s just really special.”

This simple yet poignant twirl was inspired by a young fan, 5-year-old Eva Elena Perez, who ardently supported Santa Gertrudis Academy and Calallen softball, especially during their state tournament appearance last spring.

Despite never having the chance to attend a game due to her battle with Leukemia, Eva’s spirit resonated with the Lady Cats, spurring them on to clinch Corpus Christi’s inaugural softball state championship in her honor.

Tragically, Eva’s valiant fight against cancer took a devastating turn when a fungal infection in her lung, exacerbated by her weakened immune system and chemotherapy, claimed her life on October 19.

The night Calallen triumphantly received their state championship rings was overshadowed by Eva’s passing, turning a moment of jubilation into one of somber reflection.

The team, deeply affected by Eva’s courageous battle, resolved to pay tribute to her after every home run with a heartfelt gesture known as the “Twirl Like Eva.”

Eva’s legacy of resilience and joy continues to inspire gestures of kindness and remembrance across Texas, with various teams and communities honoring her memory in their own ways.

As Eva’s birthday approaches on May 25, her mother, Alyssa Lozano, plans to commemorate the occasion with acts of generosity and compassion through the Life & Light Toy and Supply Drive for children battling cancer in hospitals and clinics.

To contribute to this meaningful cause, individuals can access an Amazon wish list and Eva’s mom’s Cash App, ensuring that Eva’s legacy of light and love lives on through acts of kindness and support for those in need.

Furthermore, blood drives will be held on May 25 in Banquete, Uvalde, Kenedy, and Laredo in honor of Eva, symbolizing the ongoing impact of her courageous battle and the community’s unwavering support for those in similar struggles.

In the spirit of “Twirl Like Eva,” the Lady Cats and numerous others continue to twirl in celebration, not just in remembrance of a young life lost too soon, but as a testament to the enduring power of unity, compassion, and the indomitable human spirit.