Covering the Gaps: Highlights Along the Rhode to Redeption

Covering the Gaps: Highlights Along the Rhode to Redeption

Senior outfielder Danielle Gariglio will take softball fans behind the scenes with her blog "Covering the Gaps" throughout the year. 

Hello everybody and welcome back to Covering the Gaps!

However, if you've stuck with me for this long, I guess it's you who should be welcoming me back, seeing as I am self-proclaiming myself as the most inconsistent student-athlete blogger to walk the halls of URI. I mean let's be real, Wessel's Words is really giving me a run for my money. And if you don't know what I'm referring to then head over to baseball's page and check out what Ben Wessel has been up to this semester; he's amazing.

But let's get back to what's important here – softball season. This season has been a wild ride, emotionally, physically, mentally –all the above. It hasn't been an easy path, but we never asked for one. Easy softens the will and that's not what this program's culture or rebuilding process is about.

Let's reflect on some of the huge moments and some of my favorite moments from this season so far:

Our first win of the season: Incarnate Word, February 18, 2017 – Game Three of the season at University of Houston, and the game fell 7-5 in our favor. Three home runs from three different Rams fueled the offense, combined with a great pitching effort and solid defense. Freshman Caileigh Holland, who's become my right hand this season, went yard in her third career at bat straight out beyond centerfield. Of course, I started crying. In dead centerfield, the fence read, "HOUSTON," with the skyline of the city filling the backdrop. "I wanted to hit it to Houston," she told me. And that she did. It was a moment I'll never forget.

Bri Castro and the St. Louis series: You know how people are always saying, "When your opportunity comes you have to take it?" You can't write a script better than what Bri Castro did – and has done – for our team since the St. Louis series. A junior second basemen, Castro has always worked hard, shown up every day and done what she's had to do, whether she would benefit directly from it or not. Game one of the St. Louis series we had to play a single game at Sacred Heart due to inclement weather, and when the coaches handed us the lineup for the day, Bri was finally getting her shot. If my memory suits me, she got on base every single at bat she had, turned a double play at second base, and hit a double that drove in three runs. When she stood on second base after that double, she pounded on her chest, tossed us her Ram hands and pointed to the sky. We went on to sweep the series, the first time Rhode Island Softball has won three consecutive conference games in 11 years. I got to sing the fight song three times in one weekend. It was the best weekend of my life. Bri Castro has been the heartbeat of our team since that weekend and filled a huge void that we were missing.

The Dayton Series: 
"The best compliment a leader can get is how those they lead do when they are not there," is the message I received that Saturday from Coach Mary. As I was quarantined in a hotel room, alone in the middle of Dayton, Ohio, with strep throat, my teammates owned the day and played two incredible games against Dayton. Losing the first one in a soul crushing 3-2 walk off loss, they came back, fought with grit, scrap and drive, and won the second game, 5-4. I can't describe the amount of pride I felt that day. But to provide a visual, when the game tracker read "5-4 FINAL," I screamed, threw my cell phone in the air and sang the fight song all by myself. Did you really think I would miss out on a chance to sing the fight song? Come on now. We showed up again on Sunday, and I got to help my teammates out this time. Taking game three of the series, 5-2, and winning the series against Dayton (for the first time in my career!). Our bats were hot, defense steady and pitching dominant. This series win helps keep us in contention for that playoff berth we're after.

My main goal of my career has been to leave Rhody Softball better than I found it, and for a while I did believe that I had achieved that. But I still felt like I needed tangibles, hard evidence to prove it. After all, I am a journalist. I'm reliant on the truth and the facts. These are the facts of my senior year so far, of Year Two so far, of Team Two so far. Year two is where we rise from the ashes, and while maybe our record doesn't show for it, there are few people we have faced, who haven't left the field and realized that the Rhode to Redemption is absolutely real and happening right before your eyes.

Until next time,

Dani