EL PASO, Texas - She was just one month away from taking the field for her first collegiate softball game, but instead of making plans to go see her play, the family of Chapin High School graduate Belinda Hernandez spent this week planning her funeral services.
On Monday, Belinda, or 'Bee,' as she was affectionately known, died suddenly from brain cancer.
"It sounds cliche, but she was a coach's dream as a player," said Chapin High School softball coach, Kevin Mills.
She wore number 11 on the field and was known as 'Bee' Hernandez off the field. But those moments spent away from softball didn't happen too often.
"It was her life. All day, everyday," said one of high school teammates, Lydia Urbina. "School, summer, winter, when school was out. All the time."
Other teammates said rivals feared her.
"You couldn't get the ball past her," said Briana Eoff. "If you hit it to her, you knew it was going to her, she was going to get you out."
Ultimately, it would be a very sudden battle with cancer that would take out the Chapin High School graduate. When Hernandez came home for the holidays, complaining of headaches, her family took her to the doctor.
Medical specialists found a tumor in her brain. Hernandez spent last Saturday in the hospital as doctors performed surgery to remove that tumor.
Hernandez's teammates said the surgery went well. But on Sunday, her brain began to swell. She died on Monday.
"It's just sad she never got to play the opening season," Urbina said.
Last April, Hernandez signed a letter of intent to play softball at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin. Her first college softball game was set for Feb. 12. Loved ones said they have no doubt she would have taken the field and inspired others as she had done so many times before.
"I always wanted to be like Belinda," said Brittany Martinez. "Even watching her in previous years, like going to watch the Chapin softball games, I was like, 'Look, there's the shortstop. There's Bee. She's so great.'"
The loss hasn't been easy for her Chapin Huskies teammates, but they know what 'Bee' would want.
"I can hear Bee telling me get outside and practice right now," Mills said. "That first day back, we left shortstop open that day. Nobody played shortstop that day because that was her spot."
Soon, number 11 may have a spot on the school's softball field, where her team plans to retire her jersey.
"She truly was a great kid and we really are gonna miss her," Mills said.