BRADENTON - Her grandparents had just arrived from Michigan to join her mom and dad in the Southeast High stands.
Bayshore's Kelsey Hicks was a bit nervous when she took the mound in her first varsity start. And very much excited.
She walked the first batter, but relaxed to help the Bayshore softball team defeat Southeast 14-0 on Thursday in five innings.
Hicks, who struck out five, was called up from junior varsity.
As far as she's concerned, JV is where it's at.
"I prefer JV," Hicks said. "It's more laid back. Just knowing winning and losing doesn't matter because it's JV."
It sure matters on the Bruins varsity (3-1, 2-0 Class 5A-District 12). The Noles, under first-year coach Courtney Hastings, fell to 0-4, 0-3.
After Hicks walked the first batter, La'tece Luther (3-for-4, two RBIs), strolled from her shortstop position to speak with Hicks.
"I just told her to calm down, relax and take your time," Luther said. "Before the game, she was nervous. She was shaking her hands and stuff. I could just tell."
Hicks settled, and the Bayshore bats began popping pitches about.
In the fifth inning, Allison Holden looked to rip one.
"Hey Al," Bayshore coach Larry Peterson said, "lose one."
That meant to crank the ball over the fence. Holden knocked an outside pitch to right-center field, and began running.
She turned first base, curved around second, and her coaches just kept sending her.
"I was like, 'What am I doing?' " Holden said. "I thought I was going to be out."
She kept running, but the ball never came back. Holden crossed the plate for an inside-the-park home run to complete her 3-for-4, three-RBI night.
When Holden came to the dugout, Peterson had a problem.
"That's not good," Peterson said. "I said to lose it."
Bayshore 454 01 - 13 13 1
Southeast 000 00 - 0 2 1
WP - Hicks. LP - Turner. 2B - Bruns, Luther (B). HR - Holden (B). Team records: Bayshore 3-1. Southeast 0-4.