By Andrew Glover
GLENCOE, Okla. —
Starting on opening day can bring all sorts of emotions for a pitcher, ranging from excitement to nervousness. For Glencoe senior Summer Jefferies she had to deal with something completely different.
Earlier in August, Jefferies’ dad died after a lengthy battle with cancer. His funeral was two days before her opening start on Aug. 7.
“It was really tough trying to be mentally prepared,” Jefferies said. “My mind was in so many different places at that time. I just had to step out on the field and forget about everything.”
Coach Tabitha Wright said Jefferies’ father was a big part of the softball program.
“He did a lot of stuff with the program like help with the field and taking care of things,” Wright said.
“My dad wasn’t just a dad to me,” Jefferies said. “My best friend Macy (Dickens), he was like a second dad. It was really a big loss for the entire team.”
Now in her final season, Jefferies’ led Glencoe to its first regional appearance since 2009.
Wright said Jefferies used softball to help cope with her dad’s death.
“She’s let softball be her out this year on all the stuff going on,” Wright said. “She’s encouraging to the girls, she’s a big leader on the team. Keeping their sprits up.
Jefferies said she had great support from her teammates.
“They all stuck together and helped me through it,” Jefferies said. “God has really blessed me with amazing family, friends and coaches to help me through a really difficult time in my life.”
Wright said she’s sort of using Jefferies’ dad’s fight with cancer as motivation for her regional squad.
“Her dad losing his battle with cancer fought it to the finish,” Wright said. “That’s something (Jefferies) she’s asked the team. That’s one we said we are going to do this year, is fight to the finish.”
With Jefferies in the circle, Glencoe won its first regular season tournament in 14 years and first district title since 2009.
“It’s pretty special,” Jefferies said. “My freshman year we won districts and stuff. It would be a special year and my last year to play softball is special especially with my team.”
Wright said Jefferies is a hard worker.
“She has the passion that spills over and carries over to the other girls,” Wright said. “She has a true passion for the sport. The way she practices is the way she plays, she doesn’t give up or quit.”
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