Sadie Granville received a text message about a familiar topic last year while she was sweeping at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Philipsburg.
It was from her friend, Kylie Thal, who asked Granville if she wanted to play softball again. Granville heard the same question for years since she stopped playing after sixth grade. But this time, she didn’t dismiss the idea. She thought about it, talked about it with her parents and decided to give it a shot just before Philipsburg-Osceola’s preseason workouts started.
“After that, it was kind of really me texting her about it instead of her texting me,” Granville said.
Granville went to some open gyms and enjoyed getting back into the sport. She made an impression on P-O coach Jim Gonder with her quickness and energetic approach, becoming the team’s starting second baseman as a junior and fitting in seamlessly in her first season with the Mounties, a perennial softball power.
Gonder, who is in his 35th season leading P-O, can’t recall another player taking a similar path as Granville.
“Definitely not in the last 15 years,” Gonder said. “Our program’s not to the point where a junior can come out and make the team.”
Granville was a standout player when she was in elementary school. That’s why she heard from people asking why she wasn’t playing softball and saying she should come out for the team.
But she was ready for a break from softball by the end of her sixth-grade season.
“It’s not that I hated softball. I loved softball,” Granville said. “My dad had me playing softball in kindergarten so I played for six, seven years, and I think kind of after that, I was done.”
She never thought she would play again — until Thal sent that text message.
The friends talked about softball every now and then at church, reflecting on their youth softball days and all the fun they had — including winning a championship with Granville in the circle and Thal behind the plate. Their friendship blossomed through softball, and the topic came up more often last year as Granville said she really missed the game.
Thal, P-O’s catcher, kept thinking about how well Granville would fit on the varsity team.
And she tried to express that belief to her friend.
“I remember telling Sadie that when I was young, I used to look up to her. She’s a year older than I am,” Thal said. “I always looked up to her. She was so good at everything she did — she worked hard, she was athletic, she was competitive, and that really motivated me to play harder.”
Thal felt Granville could make a difference for the Mounties.
But there was one problem to solve.
“I didn’t have a lot of gear,” Granville said. “I was kind of worried about that because my parents didn’t want to have to go out and pay for a ton of new gear when I only had two years left.”
Granville borrowed a glove until she got her own, breaking it in by putting a ball in it and wrapping rubber bands around it. She used her teammates’ bats all season — though she didn’t hit in games as the team’s flex player.
She was nervous at the start of the year, but it didn’t take long for her to show her teammates what she could do. At one of the team’s first practices outside, she made a diving play.
“We were all yelling, we were all excited,” Thal said. “On a personal level, I felt really good with asking her and telling her to give it a shot because I knew that she would be able to succeed.”
Granville enjoyed a memorable season in 2016, helping the Mounties win the District 6 championship. This season, she hopes to contribute at the plate and wants to win the district title again.
Granville said she’s glad she decided to play softball again and wishes she played her entire career.
Said Granville: “I couldn’t be having more fun.”