GIBSON CITY – In front of packed stands and baselines Saturday morning, GCMS Middle School Athletic Director Mark Berry threw the first pitch to GCMS Middle School Principal Jeremy Darnell to open the inaugural season of GCMS Middle School softball.
The Falcon girls then took the field and won their first game of a doubleheader with Fisher, 1-0.
“I thought the energy from our girls was spectacular,” said head coach Matt Crews. “They are super excited to play middle school softball, and they supported their teammates from start to finish.”
The added energy and support from the crowd also impressed Crews, who felt the atmosphere was far from a first-ever outing. “I couldn't believe how much support the girls softball program received from the community. The crowd was electric, and it felt like a postseason type atmosphere.”
Madison Kirby had the “big blow” in the win with a towering, run-scoring triple off of the fence to give GCMS the lead for good.
In addition, to Kirby, Crews credited Madison Eberle’s pitching in the win. “Madison Eberle was fantastic in the circle pitching seven innings, giving up only four hits, and striking out 15 batters with zero walks.”
After the win, the girls were so excited that they shook hands with Fisher and exited the field immediately.
“They forgot that the coaching staff recaps the game and talks to them in the outfield after each game,” Crews said. “I think they were just excited to celebrate with their family and friends after the big win.”
Fisher won the second game, 10-7.
“I thought the girls played better defense in the first game compared to the second,” Crews said. “We kicked the ball around a little bit in the second game, which put a lot of pressure on our pitchers, Maci and Gracie.
“I think the nerves got to the girls a little bit due to the big crowd that they were playing in front of. However, what a great atmosphere for a ball game, and that's ‘good pressure’ in my opinion. The more and more the girls experience a close game like that, the more they will learn from those pressure situations.”
Gracie Lozier had four hits on the day with two RBIs and got on base before a pinch runner scored the winning run in the first game (Autumn Carter pinch ran for her to score the lone run.).
Darnell said the day was a perfect way to celebrate the efforts put forth by many people over the years to start the program.
"It was very exciting to see the kids on the field," Darnell said."We are proud to have GCMS represented in another positive format and are very proud of the positive start."
On Monday, the team traveled to Tri-Valley and split another doubleheader, winning the first game 6-3 and losing the second 2-5.
The girls have six away games in a row, before they face El Paso-Gridley at home Aug. 24.