Today our granddaughter Geri Ann was in Rome, Georgia, for two high school state all-star games. Yesterday she participated there in the home run derby and won by hitting 31 home runs in the three rounds.
Today she was asked to be interviewed for an ESPN segment about yesterday’s derby. The first person she saw when she walked in was international softball legend Jessica Mendoza. Geri Ann has been interviewed many times but never by someone like the former Olympic athlete and the softball analyst for ESPN, who has been one of her all-time favorites. She admits that she felt a little nervous but answered questions the best she could.
What Geri Ann did not know until the middle of that interview was that Mendoza was really there to unveil and present to her the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year trophy.
Many folks in our region remember Geri Ann as the little sister of two other outstanding softball players—Tara Glasco Archibald and Erin Glasco. Their mother Vickie would bring Geri Ann with an assortment of sand pile toys to keep her happily occupied while they played ball. Vickie would have this toddler looking so cute all spic and span. A half hour later, softball fans were laughing at the adorable grubby preschooler. (Now-a-days Vickie is bringing toys to entertain her three little grandsons at ball games—Aidan, Maddux, and Peyton Archibald.)
I remember long ago when Geri Ann’s father Gerry commented that the poor little thing was only two years old and had already attended some huge number of ball games. I think she was four or five when she played with her first team at the Johnston City park. If anyone got a hit, that player could probably count on a home run since these little beginners were not likely to catch the ball, and if they did, they wouldn’t be able to throw it very far. We parents and grandparents in the stands and on our lawn chairs would go wild cheering these tiny runners around the bases. It wasn’t Geri Ann but another little girl a year younger whose participation I remember most clearly. Tiny for her age, she was standing in the outfield desperately needing to go to the restroom. Finally she got her mother’s attention, and we all relaxed and smiled at each other. I still tease her about this when I occasionally see her. She is now one of the many girls from our region who have earned college scholarships because of their softball skills.
This morning I took Geri Ann’s cousin Sam to give his first trombone lesson to an eighth grade sister of a friend of his. She was already doing well in band, but hopes to get better. Sam was pretty excited after the lesson telling me how much he enjoyed sharing what he has learned. He realized that maybe a near-peer might still remember how it was at the beginning while learning an instrument. He said only this past year has some things he had been taught really clicked in for him.
Sam and I were at McDonald’s eating lunch at noon when I got the phone call from Gerald telling me the exciting news about Geri Ann. He started the call by asking if Gerry had called me. That question scared me because Gerry would not usually phone me on my cell phone. I said no and caught my breath. His next sentence was that Geri Ann was national player of the year. We know that players can be injured and end more than ball careers, and when I heard the name Geri Ann at the first of his sentence, my heart beat harder in total panic. And as he finished the sentence, I suspect it continued beating rapidly in total joy.
Sam was as excited as I was because he and his cousins are very close. His comment was he was not surprised having just read all the statistics when she won the state player of the year. He started citing them. I am not a numbers/statistics person and could not possibly remember them, but the ESPN news release said that during her senior year at Oconee High School, she led the team (38-2) to the Class AAA state title last fall. She posted a 19-0 record with a 0.50 ERA in the circle, while batting .564 with 62 RBI and a state single-season record 24 home runs. It continued, “A four-time first team all-state selection, she struck out 213 batters in 113 innings, firing 13 shutouts and four no-hitters. Glasco set the state career record for home runs (47) and doubles (58) I addition to finishing second in Georgia history with 207 career hits and fourth with 167 RBIs.”
Geri Ann is playing summer travel ball on Southern Force as she has since she was 12. Her father started Southern Force on a shoe string and a dream. Before they joined the staff at the University of Georgia, her dad coached her and then her sister Tara. Gerry is now associate head coach under Lu Harris-Champer, and Tara came on board as assistant coach there last fall. It is not surprising that Geri Ann has signed to play at Georgia. Her sister Erin, who played for Texas A&M when they won second in the NCAA Women’s College World Series, came close to persuading her she needed to go to Texas. Erin is now assistant softball at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She will be going down tomorrow to attend the banquet in Geri Ann’s honor.
For more on her family, read the ESPN blog at http://espn.go.com/blog/high-school/softball/post/_/id/773/geri-ann-glasco-sticking-close-to-home.
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