Faith, sisterhood are the glue for Wesson softball

Published 10:35 am Friday, May 3, 2024

WESSON — Junior Lilly Channell was ready to bat in the fourth inning of a 2-1 victory over West Marion when she stopped for one last thing. A prayer with senior Julianna Wilson. 

Heads bowed, hands held, Wilson led the brief prayer before Channell walked up to bat. She singled on a bunt shortly after. 

“She prays with me every time before I go up to bat,” Channell said. “We know we need to talk to God so we can do what we need to do. We had a bible study before the game and Bible studies on the weekends. We know if we ever feel down we can open the word.” 

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The cross is a way the team keeps focus and perspective while playing softball. Fans may notice the girls kneeling down to write something in the infield dirt. 

Senior Mallory Sanders said the girls draw crosses and then write little words around them. She writes the name Longwood for the university she will play at next year. Lilly writes her number and “all for one,” in reference to God. 

“We make sure we honor Him on the field as everything is for his glory,” Sanders said. “We all write little things about us. They all mean something to us. They are there and get taken off during the game and after when they fix the dirt  but we put them back out. If we ever feel down we can look down and it puts our mind at ease.”

Fans may also notice the girls warming up before each game with a colorful beach volleyball.Sanders explained most of the team play volleyball at Wesson. 

She added it was a fun way to stay loose but they also just enjoy volleyball. Channell said the game against West Marion was huge because of last year’s playoff loss to them. Nerves were high and the atmosphere was tense. 

“We had nerves at the start but we held our heads high and picked up our teammates,” Channell said. “It makes a big difference when you have your team’s support.” 

Wesson’s dugout is best described as a sisterhood. Channell and Sanders are part of a small portion of junior and seniors. A dozen of the players are either eighth graders, freshmen or sophomores but they get along so well. 

Sanders coaches from the dugout if she isn’t on the field. She is the team’s leader. Her sister Maddie Sanders is a solid hitter and just an eighth grader. 

“They intentionally walked me but they should have walked her,” Sanders said. “My sister is amazing, she is my support system, she is our other pitcher too. I’m proud of her. We all have a big connection on the team.” 

Channell said they are all working towards the same goal, to make history and reach the south state for the first time since 2013 and go to the state championship at Southern Miss. 

“We try our best to play hard and not have drama. We all know we are here playing for the same thing,” Channell said. 

Wesson’s mantra is “To The Top,” and they end each game with eagle screeches. 

“We are headed and working our whole way. We want to get a ring and we are going to the top,” Sanders said. “We have an eagle call, it’s special. We really really want it. If we keep it up it’s possible to win state. We got it.” 

Wesson will have to win one more game against West Marion to advance to the south state round. They play in West Marion tonight at 6 pm and if needed Game three will be in Wesson Saturday.