The clouds closed in over Grovetown High's softball field Friday as Lady Warriors coach Casey Dees gathered his team.
There are only nine players on Grovetown's softball roster, just enough to field a team.
The numbers have caused some problems for the Lady Warriors this season, but when it has mattered, Grovetown's nine players have been there every time.
The softball team became the first program at the first-year school to record a victory, beating the Academy of Richmond County, 19-4, on Aug. 27.
Two days before, an illness spread among the players and forced Dees to reschedule a game with Lakeside.
"They come out here every day; they know they cannot miss or we cannot be successful with our season," Dees said. "To see them actually be successful yesterday I thought was everything you ever wanted as a coach."
The win was a milestone for the program, but the Lady Warriors said it was a game earlier in the season that was the turning point.
They played powerful Greenbrier on Aug. 27. Some on Grovetown's team are Greenbrier transplants and know the Lady Wolfpack's tradition.
Grovetown lost the game 15-0, but the players said they gave their best effort even though the game was one-sided.
"We all had the same goal of playing our hardest and proving that we are worthy to be on the field," senior Carrie McKenzie said. "Everything we had went into that."
McKenzie said the team's lack of numbers means players have to be willing to shuffle positions. She said she started the season in the outfield and had played shortstop for only two hours before having to fill the spot against the Wolfpack.
Alicia Ferguson was the pitcher of record for the win over the Musketeers. Ferguson moved to the area from Pennsylvania and was a student at Greenbrier for part of last year but could not play softball. This has been the first time she has pitched since she was a freshman.
Ferguson said that the team is a tight-knit group, which helps with accountability.
"We're always on each other, 'You need to be here, you need to do this,' making sure everybody's doing what they need to be doing," she said.
Dees, a coach at Greenbrier last season before making the move to Grovetown, said there has been little talk about where the players came from to create Grovetown's first softball team.
Grovetown's players view last week's win as a starting point, saying that the pressure of getting the first one is gone and that they have something to draw from as they prepare for future games.
"I think it was a good experience for us to get that win early on," said junior Gabriela Medina. "So we won't have to be, 'OK, we're going to go play and we're going to lose.' So they won't have that expectation. It's, 'If we play like we know how to play, if we do what we're supposed to do, we can win.' "
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