A look behind the scenes: ACA softball team managers and statisticians

On May 9, 2015 the Aucilla Lady Warriors Varsity softball team won the first state championship in school history. This season, both the Varsity and Junior Varsity teams are once again off to a strong start for their 2016 season. In recent years, Aucilla’s softball program has been experiencing a boom of talent and support. In addition to the coaches and fans, team managers and statisticians Gaige Winchester, Corey Brandies, Heather James and Zack Peterson serve as the backbone of this support.

Gaige Winchester, an Aucilla senior and basketball player from Monticello, has been keeping the statistics for the Varsity softball team for two years. Before taking on this role with the team, Winchester played softball at ACA for five years. Though she no longer plays on the team, Winchester loves being involved. Winchester says her favorite part of her job is “traveling with the team and watching the team grow as the season goes on.” Winchester plans to attend Tallahassee Community College and then transfer to a four-year university to pursue a degree in Nursing.

Corey Brandies, an Aucilla senior from Madison, has helped to manage the Varsity softball team for five years as well as assisting the football, volleyball and basketball teams during their respective seasons. Brandies got involved with softball management when he acted as bat boy for his older sister’s college softball team. Brandies enjoys traveling with the team and spending time with the coaching staff. Brandies plans to attend a major university and pursue his Medical Doctorate in hopes of becoming a director of athletic medicine and orthopedic surgeon for a university or professional sports team.

Heather James, an Aucilla junior and cheerleader from Monticello, has been a manager for the JV softball team for three years. After being injured during her eighth grade year, James could no longer play the sport herself but loves being able to be a part of the team by spending time with the girls and watching the games. After high school, James says she plans to “attend college and study in the field of education.”

Zackery Peterson, an Aucilla senior from Madison, began helping with the JV softball team this year and has also served as manager or statistician for the football, volleyball and basketball teams. Peterson loves being involved with the teams at ACA, describing himself as having a servant’s heart. He also enjoys time spent with the team members. Peterson says his plans are to “major in social work and spread God's love through missions.”

Though these young men and women spend the majority of their time behind the scenes, they serve an invaluable role to the teams that they assist. From late night games, long bus rides and carrying equipment to assisting injured players, providing accurate bookkeeping and even working from home creating encouraging notes and posters for the team, Winchester, Brandies, James and Peterson stay busy supporting the teams that they want to succeed. By meeting with the team, cheering for the team, working with the team and praying for the team, they are most certainly important members of the team.

-Emma Witmer

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