KENNEDALE (CBSDFW.COM) – The Forney High School softball team is taking the field for the first time Thursday after a player’s tragic death. Forney faces Mansfield Lake Ridge in a semifinal matchup in Kennedale, and teammates plan to honor Emily Galiano through her love of the game.
Many people throughout the community are grieving the loss of the 14-year-old outfielder. The game was postponed a day due to the tragedy. Forney coach Pat Eitel said that it was a tough decision to come back, but teammates decided that it was best to play in honor of Galiano.
The opposing team also sent a simple, but powerful message of support using Twitter on Wednesday.
According to investigators, the Forney softball team gathered for dinner at a player’s home on Tuesday night, what was meant to be the eve of their semifinal game. That event turned deadly when a vehicle driven by a fellow player accidentally ran over Galiano as the team was leaving.
The freshman was taken to a hospital in Dallas in critical condition. She later died from her injuries.
Eitel let the team decide if they wanted to continue with the season. They are looking at Thursday night’s game as a tribute to their fallen player. “We all were one big family, and they stuck together. They had each other’s back,” Eitel said. “I think that’s part of how they’re coping right now.”
Among those teammates is Galiano’s twin sister. She too posted a touching tribute to her sibling on Twitter.
The softball game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Thursday night. “It’s a loss, but they’re at it as, they’re going to try to celebrate somebody’s life instead of being the sorrow for it,” Eitel added. “I can’t be more proud of a bunch of kids than what I saw after the tragedy.”
Meanwhile, students and staff members at Forney High School continue to mourn.
“It’s been hard for pretty much everyone,” said student Tamarity Vaughn on Wednesday. “She had a great personality and she was very sweet.”
“We are all just in mourning state,” added classmate Prince Udenze. “Everybody’s just praying, praying to God, people are sad and grieving and mourning.”
“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with the family during this very difficult time,” the Forney Independent School District said in a statement. “Please keep our student and the family in your heart and in your prayers.”