Arnold softball coaches surprise, honor their three seniors

NICEVILLE/PANAMA CITY, FL (WJHG/WECP) Call it a late night surprise, courtesy of a couple of Arnold softball coaches, head coach Rick Green and assistant coach Katie Lopes!

Three Arnold softball seniors honored in a special way

"What I wanted to do, the girls are always slipping up and surprising us.So we're trying to do the elusive tonight and see if we can surprise some teenagers."

You see Thursday night was supposed to be Arnold softball's senior night game. Sadly that game cannot be played, so coaches Green and Lopes gathered up some goodies, and decided to deliver them to their three senior players, doing so late Wednesday night, under the cover of darkness. First to the Panama City Beach homes of Madison Grindle and Ellie Flaat and then up to Lynn Haven and Pilar Egge's home.

"We're putting yard signs out with their pictures on them that say Happy Senior Day, Arnold High School Softball. Arnold head coach Rick Green told me before loading up Wednesday night. "And we also got each one of them a cooler, filled with drinks and candy. And it's just a special time. We knew the kids, after the FHSAA made the decision to end spring sports, we knew that the kids were not going to be able to celebrate senior night. And senior night's important whether you're an athlete, a band member, or in a club, anything like that. So we want to make sure that we praise these seniors and do something to make them feel good about their season season."

"Senior night was important to me, I had my family there as well as my coaches." says Arnold assistant and 2014 Arnold softball alum Katie Lopes. "We were a big family back when I played in high school. So it's hard for these kids that they don't have their family, which is the team, together. I'm excited to go and put out the stuff for the kids, I think they're gonna really enjoy it. At least they get something special because of this pandemic, but I hope they really enjoy it."

And the girls waking up Thursday morning to that nice surprise. The booster club also delivered flowers to the players, in a softball shaped cup. Two of the players were prompted to head out Thursday morning, one was not!

"No I was just going out on my own," Arnold senior Pilar Egge told me "taking my dog for a walk and saw that and was like oh my!"

As for Madie Grindle,"My mom told me yesterday your're going to have to be up by 9:30 and I was like...what? I was very surprised, I cried a little bit."

Ellie Flaat also prompted to head out in the morning. "I was getting my schoolwork done and my mom said 'hey can you go get me my paper? And I said yeah. I go out and I see a cooler and see a picture of me next to it saying my name and senior day. And I say what's this? And she's like 'I don't know'."

Egge says she was touched, and it made her think about how much she loves the game and her teammates."It's really just a reminder to live each day and game like it's your last and just appreciate all the moments that you make with your team."

"You know I've played softball my entire life." Grindle told me. "And being able to have that senior recognition, that's your final steps. That's the big thing that you work towards, is your senior year."

"As you know" says Flaat I'd much rather be out on the field with my teammates because I miss them like crazy. And I'd love to be playing. But with the circumstances, now we can't. But I appreciate this gesture that everyone did. It was just cute and surprising."

"I miss playing with my girls." says Madie "I miss walking out on that field. You know whenever we do the throwdown, whenever the pitcher pitches the ball and the catcher throws it down to second before the inning starts. And then you get, just the whole team on the field, that's something I'm really gonna miss. Just seeing everyone doing their high-fives and their handshakes, doing their little, whatever it is. That's something I'm gonna miss."