It started with a 10-0 victory.
Brighton Head Coach Robin Jacobs led his Lady Cardinals to their first win over Memphis Catholic on March 16, 1996. Now the program is 500 wins strong after the Lady Cardinals picked up a 10-0 win over Haywood County April 22.
By Thomas Sellers Jr.
A tradition that started in 1999 for every 100 wins, the current roster of Lady Cardinals pulled up home plate at the Brighton Softball Field and signed it. The latest plate featured a large red 500 in the middle with the signatures of seniors Lulu Smith, Haley Craig, McCallie Ruffin, Hunter Simpson, Bri McBride, Morgan Shaver, Laura Judy and Hadley Wilkins surrounding it.
The Class of 2013 signed the plate back in 2010 with standouts like Emi Kate Smith, Bailey Hansen, Lorin Raines, Kesley Tramel and Laura Gentry. That plate also featured the signatures of All-State players Leanna Coulston and Caroline Jacobs.
Jacobs joined her sister Emily as family members to ink plates at Brighton. Haley and her two sisters are in that club like other family combinations.
“We’re about tradition here,” Jacobs said. “We have families represented here like the Smiths, Craigs and Turners.”
Jacobs said his players started thinking about the 500th win about a couple weeks ago and their turn to participate in the ceremony.
“When you get to about 490 you can’t help but start thinking about it,” he acknowledged. “We wanted to get it against Covington but it didn’t happen. We definitely wanted to get it over with before Munford came here. That’s going to be a good one.
“Getting it is a huge accomplishment for the girls,” Jacobs added. “It shows people their hard work on and off the field. It shows they got it done through all the practices in the snow and rain. They took all the yelling at and put in a lot of hours.”
Some of the names that will live forever on plates are Whitney Robison, Amber Gatewood, Amber Hayes, Staci Craig, and Brittany Mize. These players joined their teammates over the years to average 29 wins a season. Plates are signed at Brighton on a four year average.