The Forney High School softball team is playing for something much greater than a game.
"It’s always something bigger with us," said Forney softball coach Pat Eitel. "Winning is great. But sending her message out, that’s really what we’re all about. And going back to state that just elevates it even more."
As the Jackrabbits eye a second straight state championship, they also spend time reflecting on a tragedy they’ll never forget.
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"Before every game we say a prayer and I end it with, 'Lord we play for your glory, but we play to honor Emily,'" said Forney senior shortstop Caleigh Cross. "So we play for God's glory but at the same time, we always say we want to give a show for Emily."
Two years ago, Forney freshman softball player Emily Galiano was tragically killed when she was hit by a car. Thursday, Emily's twin sister, Madison, is a prominent player for Forney.
"We're definitely a very tough team to play," said Madison. "But we're even tougher when we have an angel in the outfield on our side."
An angel in the outfield whose memory is on their minds and displayed with turquoise ribbons all around the program, in the midst of a dominant season that includes a 36-and-3 record, and the pressure of trying to repeat as champions.
"We got everybody's best game," said Eitel. "The bullseye is on our back and everybody's looking for us. The kids always stepped up. It's great to see."
And now the Jackrabbits will try to step up again, as they roll to Austin to try to repeat as champions, but play for a purpose greater than just a game.
"We just want to do our best for her," said Madison. "Make her proud no matter what. And we know we have made her proud, we just want to keep going and keep her legacy living."