Demopolis softball overcomes adversity to win respect

Published 9:19 pm Saturday, May 11, 2013

What I witnessed Friday night from the Demopolis High School softball team can only be described as incredible.

Someone who is just looking at the scores of the games would not see what I saw, but I think everyone who was in Troy at the AHSAA Regional Tournament saw it.

On Friday morning before the team left Demopolis, everyone in the school and the community lost a friend. When DHS sophomore Cody Webb was killed in a car accident on his way to school Friday morning, it sent shockwaves through DHS and the city of Demopolis.

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The group of girls on the varsity softball team could not stay in town to grieve their loss, though. They had to get on the road to go to Troy to compete for a spot in the state tournament.

To honor their friend and classmate, the girls wrote “Cody” and “83,” Cody’s number in football, on their hair ribbons, and they wore eye black stickers with “Cody” or “CW,” and references to Bible verses.

In their first game of the tournament, played at 3:30 p.m. Friday, the Lady Tigers struggled. Everyone who was watching the game could see that the tragedy was weighing them down, and the last thing they wanted to be doing at that moment was to be playing softball.

They ended up losing that first game against Marbury High School by seven runs, with one more game to play later on in the evening in the double elimination tournament.

At the start of the second game of the night, the team’s focus was better than the first game, but they still weren’t completely dialed in. Chilton County jumped out to a big lead on two separate occasions, but in the fifth inning of the game, trailing 10-5, something happened inside everyone on this team. All of the girls were smiling, and they started having fun playing the game again. The Lady Tigers scored seven runs that inning to take a 12-10 lead, with six of the seven runs coming with two outs. They ended up winning the game 13-11, extending their season for one more game.

The resiliency of this group of girls was astonishing. Everything they had been through that day, from when they heard the terrible news of the tragic loss of their friend, to the loss in their first game of the tournament, to being down by multiple runs multiple times in the second game, shows how mentally tough this group of girls is.

Even though they did not earn a spot in the state tournament, the 2013 DHS softball team did more than most expected they could, given the situation they were in, and they earned the respect of many onlookers at the South Central Regional.

I am honored to have been able to cover this group of young ladies this season, and I wish them nothing but the best in the future.