Dynamite in a bottle

Published 8:36 am Monday, May 9, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
Many sports teams have a "secret weapon" to give them an edge in a big game.
For the Escambia Academy Lady Cougars, their secret weapon is a 4-foot-10 pitcher named Stacey Gibbs.
Gibbs, a junior, has compiled a 9-4 record at pitcher for the Lady Cougars through Thursday night, as well as a .311 batting average. She also hit an inside-the-park home run during the season.
Lady Cougar volunteer head coach Darrell Jackson said Gibbs had deceptively provided a spark for EA all season.
"She's been my go-to pitcher," Jackson said. "She's truly a competitor. She's very fun to watch and one that size does not matter all the time. She probably gets the most recognition everywhere we go. People know Lori (Bonds) and Meagan (Jackson) from basketball, but when we go to these places I don't know how many times people have asked me how old she is. Everybody can't believe she's as old as she is."
Gibbs agreed that competitors often underestimate her abilities.
"When we play somebody new they probably underestimate what I can do, but I think it gives me an advantage," Gibbs said.
She also reflected back on her best performance of the season.
"When we played Mobile Christian the first time, they beat us 11-0," Gibbs said. "The second time we played them, they won 1-0 and I had more strikeouts than their pitcher had and gave up fewer hits than they did. It was quite an improvement."
Jackson felt that Gibbs's record should be better this year.
"She hasn't struck out as many people as last year," he said. "They've kind of caught up to her stuff, so we've relied on defense behind her, but we haven't given her the kind of defense we should have or her record would be a lot better."
Despite the praise from her coach, there was one area of her game that Gibbs felt needed a bit of work.
"Throwing over-handed (fielding)," Gibbs laughed. "I've made a lot of errors throwing to first. Every time I do it I just go back and say I'm sorry. They always tell me it's okay."
Above all else, Jackson believed the best aspect of Gibbs's game was the effort she puts forth each outing.
"She doesn't say a whole lot, she just does it," Jackson said. "Like I've said about my seniors (Bonds, Jackson and Keisha Lee), they just lead by example. She is going to go out there every day and give you her best effort."
Gibbs, who also participates in cheerleading for EA, had several goals for the coming year, her final in high school.
"I make mostly A's and B's," Gibbs said. "I'd like to get my grades up a little. Maybe find a little more time for my school work. I've won one state championship (in 2002, as an eighth grader) here, and I'd like to win at least one more before I go."
In closing, Gibbs wished to say something very important.
"Size doesn't matter if you put your heart into what you're doing," Gibbs said. "If you put your heart into it you'll be successful. You also need to remember to include God in everything you're doing. Never try to do it by yourself, because God will help you."

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