Italy — With a long list of special events on tap during the Lady Gladiators’ final home game of the 2014 season, Italy’s ladies were primed to to get the job done against visiting Avalon to ensure the Lady Eagles wouldn’t foil the night. A night that was actually 3 nights in one…
Prior to the game, Italy honored its senior players and managers with the team’s lone senior Paige Westbrook being escorted by her parents, Angie Westbrook and Kelly Westbrook. Senior scorekeeper/song selector Monserrat Figueroa and senior bookkeeper Taylor Turner were also introduced to the fans with all three receiving a rousing applause. Thanks ladies for all your efforts this season and over your careers!
The Lady Gladiators sported throwback uniforms to honor Italy’s past teams and alumni players that were on hand to be a part of the field dedication ceremonies for their former coach, Johnny Jones. The first Lady Gladiator pitcher in the team’s history, Tessa Tovar South, served up the ceremonial first pitch before the game with senior catcher Paige Westbrook behind the plate.
Sort of lost in all the festivities was the actual ballgame between Italy and Avalon. After a scoreless first-inning, it was all Italy the rest of the way who went on to shutout the visiting Lady Eagles, 15-0.
After Italy’s win, the current players joined teammate Paige Westbrook in the outfield where the senior removed her 4 foot by 4 foot softball sign. With Westbrook leading the team’s traditional Senior Walk, the team formed rows based on classification and followed their senior from the centerfield scoreboard, all the way to home plate and into the playoffs!
Following Italy’s 15-0 win over the Avalon Lady Eagles, his name was unveiled and the crowd cheered!!! There it was, prominently displayed atop the Lady Gladiator scoreboard, “Johnny Jones Field,” painted in white letters. Coach Jones then stepped out on the diamond where he received hug after hug from his former and current players. Afterwards, everyone scrambled around for pictures, perused thru yearbooks and enjoyed sampling a pair of decorated cakes and having some punch. Many alumni players couldn’t resist the pull of the field and soon went to pitching and hitting. After all, a diamond is a softball girl’s best friend.
Alumni Lady Gladiator #11 Marquisha Burkhalter-Jeng had this to say on behalf of Coach Jones, “I’m not going to lie, I was a terrible softball player. But Coach Johnny Jones had a way of making all of us feel special.”
It was a special moment for Coach Johnny Jones who shared the moment with his daughter #4 JoAnn “JoJo” Jones-Miller who was Italy’s very first Lady Gladiator all-state softball player back in 2000, 2001 and 2003.
Congratulations to Coach Jones and to the entire Lady Gladiator Softballf who have been a part of the program’s incredible journey since 1998, and who now have an official home field advantage at Johnny Jones Field.
Alumni Lady Gladiator players in attendance:
|Alumni Lady Gladiator||Jersey #||Position||Year Graduated|
|JoAnn “JoJo” Jones-Miller||4||CF||2003|
|Rachel Adams||1||2B, 1B||2004|
|Sarah “DeMo” DeMoss-Fulfer||2||SS||2006|
Current Lady Gladiator Players:
- #1 Bailey Eubank
- #2 Madison Washington
- #3 Cassidy Childers
- #4 Britney Chambers
- #5 Tara Wallis
- #6 Ashlyn Jacinto
- #8 Hannah Washington
- #9 Lillie Perry
- #10 Paige Westbrook, Senior
- #15 Jaclynn Lewis
- #16 Amber Hooker
- #17 Brooke DeBorde
- #14 Kelsey Nelson
- #18 April Lusk
- #19 Lizzie Garcia
- Wayne Rowe — Head Coach
- Johnny Jones
- Tina Richards
- Michael Chambers
- Monserrat Figueroa — Home Scoreboard, Music
- Taylor Turner — Game Stats
- Brycelen Richards