Randy Smith: Mattingly's First Hit

Friday, May 14, 2021 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
I missed my youngest granddaughter's first base hit in a softball game. Oh, I was in the park but I was keeping score for my grandson 's game several feet away. My two older granddaughters have not played in the last couple of weeks due to injury and illness and because of that I have been in a funk about not seeing them on the field at all. Maybe by next week everyone will be back in action and this old man can be completely happy again.

As I've mentioned before, there is absolutely nothing better than watching your grandbabies play ball.
Having success and being happy themselves is the best part and, when they fail and come up empty, it bothers me but thankfully doesn't seem to bother them at all, especially my three granddaughters. Mattingly, my youngest, is a four-year old playing on a 6 and under team in East Brainerd. She is a member of the Mustangs, coached by former Mocs' softball standout Rachel Norris Hodge who has worked wonders with this group of little girls. Mattingly was forced to miss much of the season due to a fractured wrist and even played a few games with a cast on her arm. 

Mattingly was 0-forever with a strikeout every single time. She happily went to the plate with a big smile on her face and that smile stayed there even when she had struck out. She didn't just walk back to the dugout, she skipped merrily back to the bench, put her bat and helmet down and ran to see her fan base sitting outside the fence. Last night, she was able to finally connect and actually hit the ball pretty hard. When she made contact, she stood there in amazement as her teammates and fans cheered her on. When she realized she had hit the ball she then ran as fast as she could to first base as her mom Alison whooped and hollered and recorded it on her phone cam for all to see. Thankfully, Alison was on the ball capturing the event for the family.

We've been fortunate this year to have great coaches for the girls. In addition to Rachel Norris Hodge, my middle granddaughter CoraLee is coached by Julie Dunn as well as former UTC softball star Toni Hutchinson Sneed, and my oldest DellaMae is coached by Meggan Ellis. All of these ladies have shown great patience and love for my girls and as a proud grandparent, I am most appreciative.

Tonight, tomorrow and Sunday we will be back at the ball yards for our grandsons. Yard work, house work and pool work can all wait. I have more important things to do. 

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Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com

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