If last week was a great game, what was this? Awesome.
Last week I missed a great softball game. While football is, and always will be, my favorite sport to cover or watch, softball is in my top three or four favorite sports, especially to cover.
I’ve seen plenty of great softball games in my five years covering the sport in Mississippi. I’ve seen Bayou win three of their six straight championships, one of which I was at I actually thought they’d lose. I’ve seen close games that come down to a single play before.
But what I saw Monday night at Benton Academy was a first.
Benton’s Nora Grace Davis smashed a home run over the center field wall and batting cages. I say “smashed” because “hit” doesn’t do it justice. It was one of those home runs that the instant the bat made contact with ball, everyone knew where the ball was headed.
It was awesome.
I’ve seen some softballs go pretty far into the outfield and even one or two that would’ve gone over the fence if not for the wind. But I had yet to see one go over the fence.
That’s not what made Monday night’s game so great. What made it so great was how the game was played. Even if Benton doesn’t pull off the comeback in the bottom of the seventh, I’d say it was a great game.
On that softball field you had two evenly matched teams that, yes, made some mistakes but also made some huge plays. You had two pitchers who shut down the opposing batters. But you also had some batters make big hits, like Olivia Stovall’s triple that gave Manchester the 3-2 lead.
Each team made a crucial error they could have easily chalked up as a reason for giving up. Neither side did though. Benton and Manchester fought to the bitter end. Like Manchester head coach A.J. Downs said, somebody had to be beaten.
It’s the nature of sports.
Now, both Manchester and Benton own a late-game victory over the other. I think its fitting because each team deserved to win the game they lost. However, we have to count our blessings.
Manchester and Benton may very well meet in this weekend’s Manchester softball tournament. Oh, what a treat that’d be.
Monday night can’t be forgotten though because there is one image burned into my memory forever. I have no children or nieces or nephews, so I can’t imagine the bond one might have in that relationship.
But to watch Nora Grace Davis round third base with a smile from ear-to-ear where her head coach and father, Vince Davis, was waiting, was amazing. Talking with both of them, neither one could remove their smile. Not like they wanted to.
That right there folks is what makes sports so great.