Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching the Mercer Bears as they played a game against the Rhode Island Rams. The game ended 1-0 with a dramatic game winning hit in the bottom of the 7′th by Holly Oglesbee. Before I get to that I should explain why I chose to go watch the Mercer Bears in the first place, and why it was such a joy to see it ended in dramatic fashion by Holly.

Mercer is coached by a really neat guy named Mike Raynor who’m I’ve had the pleasure of knowing through Higher Ground Softball camps. Each year I’ve enjoyed spending time with Mike in Columbus for the Select Camp as well as for a Super Camp that Higher Ground does at Mercer. At the camp at Mercer this January Mike introduced one of his senior leaders, Holly and shared all of the accomplishments that she has garnered during her previous 3 years at the school. He then asked Holly to share; and her message was pretty simple “I don’t really know when I was recruited. All I know is that I played my hardest and did my best during every practice and every game. I guess Coach Raynor must have been there and seen one of them. I encourage all of you to just play your hardest every time you step onto the field because you don’t know who might be watching.” And that was pretty much it. You could pay money to hear big time speakers who couldn’t sum up the heart of what girls should do any better than that. Now back to the game …

Both teams battled back and forth through a nail biter. In the bottom of the 6′th Mercer had a couple of runners on but just couldn’t push them across. In the top of 7′th the Rams got some base runners and threatened, but the Bears defense held strong. In the bottom of the 7′th they again dug in and got runners on and with 2 outs Holly came to the plate. Holly ended up getting a great pitch to hit hard and she did her job as she had done all game. In this instance though the ball found the hole, as though with eyes, and the sole run came across the plate as the Bears won. What you will see in the video is Holly doing a great job of turning the pitch without rolling her wrists over, you’ll see the umpire move to get out of the way, the runn from first avoid running into the ball and you’ll see the second baseman for the Rams lay flat out to try and stop the ball from getting to the outfield. Then you’ll see the triumphant winning run come in and pounce on home plate. Then you’ll see what was perhaps the neatest moment of the game; Holly’s mom jumps up right in front of me cheering for her daughter and the team. What I love about softball is that even when the girls are seniors in college, their parents still come and cheer for their “baby girls” and game winning hits senior year still count like they did in tee-ball. Don’t worry about missing anything, because I shot this video at 600 frames per second, so the 4 seconds it took to happen, will unravel for you over 1 minute of time.

What a pleasure to be there and see such an exciting win by the Mercer Bears.
What a joy to see a young lady who truly pours her heart into every play and every bat of every game be the one to come through when she was needed.
What a blessing to see a parent who will still stand up and cheer even this late in their little girls career.

You gotta love this game.

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