|The Jackrabbits pray for strength before Game 1 of a Best of 3 Series with the Lake Ridge Lady Eagles just two days after losing their friend, teammate and sister Emily Galiano in a tragic accident. #PlayForEmily #ForneyStrong|
For the Jackrabbits, emotions were high before, during, and after last night's 1-0 loss to the Lake Ridge Lady Eagles in Game 1 of the Regional Semifinals. In life, there are some things that are more important than others.
Obviously, losing a friend, teammate, sister, daughter, grand daughter, and student is more important than any sport at any time. Last night, however, softball took center stage as the bravest, strongest group of young ladies I have ever been around took to the field to honor Emily Galiano just 2 days after losing her in a tragic accident.
All I can say is..... Wow!
From the first pitch to the last, the Rabbits were on top of their game in the field. Sure hands of Caleigh Cross (Shortstop) and Jenny McElroy (3rd Base) gobbled up ground balls left and right. The strong arm of Sam Coker (Catcher) gunned down would be base stealers early on to set the tone for the rest of the night. Outstanding defense in the outfield came in the form of a running catch in the right center field gap by Senior Aiden Maharrey.
The play of the game came in the bottom of the 5th.
With the game still scoreless, the Lady Eagles got a runner on via a walk to Morgan Brannon that brought up Brittany Jackson. Pitcher Savanna DesRochers got ahead of Jackson 0-2 before Jackson got a hold of a pitch and drove it on a line to left field. Junior Left Fielder Caroline Tedder took off running, with her back to the infield and tracked the ball down on a dead sprint to end the inning and prevent a run from scoring.
It was that moment that I got a huge lump in my throat as I started to realize how hard these girls were playing. They wanted to honor their friend, and that's exactly what they did. The only run of the game scored on what could be considered a bit controversial.
With 1 out in the bottom of the 6th, the Lake Ridge catcher, Olguin, hit a slow grounder to shortstop. Caleigh Cross gloved it and whipped the ball across the infield to Tatum Stover. It was a bang-bang play, and the runner was called safe. From all accounts, including Lake Ridge fans, the runner was out. On a 2-2 pitch, DesRochers uncorked a bit of a wild pitch that got by Coker and to the backstop. Coker had to look for the ball. Olguin was on her way to 2nd and took off for 3rd. Coker came up with it, firing a dart to Jenny McElroy who applied the tag, and again, the runner was called safe.
And again, the fans were unhappy.
Two batters later, Kyla Marzette lined a full count pitch to centerfield to drive in the only run of the game.
The outpouring of support for this team and this community was BEYOND amazing!
Lady Kats Stadium in Kennedale was PACKED. 3/4 of the crowd was behind the Jackrabbits as some people drove 4 hours to be there for the game. Players and teams that never even knew Emily turned out to support the Jackrabbits last night. They lifted these ladies in a time of need, and that's something that can't be overlooked.
During the game, we open our text line up for people to send in shout outs and well wishes. We had 329 Texts from 21 states. People attending their own little league games were streaming the games and listening in groups. We got shout outs from family members and complete strangers who just wanted to reach out and tell the Rabbits they were thinking about them. It was truly touching to see how far this news has spread.
It was late when I got home last night, so I waited until this morning to check the stats for how many people tuned in for the game last night. I am truly blown away now. WOW!
Nearly 12,000 fans tuned in to support the Rabbits last night! On behalf of all the parents and families, I say THANK YOU for the outpouring of love and support. It means the world to these families and this town.
Game 2 is tonight in Rockwall. This is going to be the biggest game going in DFW in a long, long time, so I would suggest getting there early to get your seat, or come prepared with a bag chair, comfortable shoes and/or both!
COME WITH YOUR CHEERING VOICES!
Let's get loud and rowdy for these girls! Let's show them that we got their backs and they got this! Last night was a somber night, as it should have been. Tonight is MUST WIN, so we MUST be loud and back these girls! Our energy is their energy!
LET'S DO THIS, RABBITS!
If you absolutely cannot be at the game, you can listen in support of the Rabbits! Here are the links you can use to listen:
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You can also send in your shout outs, well wishes, and encouragement to be read during the game to 469-355-0362.