This past weekend was the culmination of a season’s worth of effort for all of our wonderful softball players and coaches. Thanks to our supportive staff and students our players were sent off Friday afternoon with a warm goodbye and lots of well wishes being sent around. Once arriving in Bowling Green our Panthers were quickly put to work and tested in the Skills competition. They focused on three core areas in grading our students: base running, batting, and throwing & catching. Thanks to the tireless work put in by all students and coaches involved their efficiency and skill proved to be good enough for our Panthers to easily snag their silver medal! Up next we had out Wildcats with the first of their two games in their round robin bracket. Tensions were running high for our players though, we already had a late game but due to earlier games running over we were stuck with a one hour game delay. Our Wildcats fought valiantly but ultimately ended falling short of winning their first game due to the exhaustion and nerves that come from such a late start time and adjusting to the hour time difference. No matter, we brushed ourselves off and headed back to the hotel to get much needed rest to cap off day one of our States adventure.
After a much needed night of rest our Wildcats were ready to begin preparing for day two of their states trip. Now backed by the Panthers who were able to fully support their friends and classmates we were sure this is the morale boost that we needed to try and ensure our victory and capture the silver medal in our division. We started the game off by correctly calling the coin toss and electing to be the home team. We took to the field and struggled to get warmed up and in a groove at first. We allowed four runs in the first inning but managed to pull things together and secure three consecutive outs. Now was our at-bat and a chance to turn the tide. Unfortunately, we had a quick three and out. We were just having a bit of trouble connecting the ball to our bats. We managed to secure another quick three outs but still gave up two runs in the meantime due to some deep hit balls that were able to advance runners faster than we were able to keep up. Back up to bat however we managed to finally secure our first run of the game and break our scoring drought. However, this proved to be the last run that would be scored in the game as due to some dragged out defensive battles both teams were able to hold each other scoreless for the remainder of the time. However, we would not go home empty handed. Thanks to our great play throughout the season and due to our qualification for state we were able to still take home the Bronze!
Thus concludes another exciting and most importantly first post-pandemic softball season. This year was a great success and such a fun time for all involved. Some special thanks is in order to everyone who helped out in anyway throughout the season. Thank you to Jeremy and Abby for being amazing coaches to our 1A Panthers, your tireless dedication to the Stewart Home and your players is greatly appreciated. Thank you to Brandon and Izzi for working hard and coaching our B Wildcats. The dedication and willingness to teach our players and ensure their enjoyment was great to see. Thank you to Ashley for filling in when needed to help cover a coaching absence. Most importantly, I would like to give a very BIG thank you to our Music teacher Michael Ghant. Michael took charge of the softball season whenever the initial Special Olympics Coordinator vacancy took place; thanks to his dedication, hard work, and patience he made sure the season ran as smoothly as possible while also teaching me and giving me the skills needed to set me and the school up for success in organizing any and all future Special Olympic seasons.
Seeing the joy from everyone involved from student to staff has been a pleasure and I look forward to next year’s season!
Special Olympics Coordinator
Pictures by: Michael Ghant, Abby Schrey, Izzi Davies, and Alicia Vincent
Be sure to check out Trey’s interview on WBKO News