The Graham High School softball team took to the diamond for the first time on Friday evening since a tragic accident claimed the life of one of their own.
Candice Martin, an 18 year old senior at Graham High School, was on her way to meet a bus that was going to take her to a track meet when she was killed in a head-on collision.
On Friday evening, the Graham Lady Blues traveled to Burkburnett for a game against the Burk Lady Bulldogs but everyone's minds and heart were with Candice and her family.
Before the game, the crowd gathered for a moment of silence to celebrate Candice's life.
For Macey Spears, Candice's teammate and friend, playing in game will not be easy but it's something she says Candice would have wanted.
"All year I've played next to her in left field and it's going to be one of the hardest things that I'm going to have to do, stepping over to center knowing that she's not going to be there beside me, but knowing that she's going to be with me is going to be a little easier; having the necklace and '6' is going to have to do," Spears says.
Spears says, "She was really one of my close friends and I wear a necklace with a '6' around it and the hat. We're also going to take the jersey out on center field and hang the six out there."
In addition, Graham Lady Blues' Coach Philip Irby says the life lesson he's been teaching his team all year, to fight, will help get them through the heartache.
"We got to fight for everything," Irby says. "That's kind of been our focus all year. We're going to fight. We're going to give it everything we got and that's what Candice would have us do."
Spears says the team is playing for Candice.
"I told my dad that if I miss a ball out there, I know she's going to be kicking me in the butt today and we just have to play for her and with her. We all know that she's there with us," Spears says.
Coach Irby says they'll get through the pain and shock of Candice's death as a team.
"Our focus from the get go has been that we were going to be a family," Irby says. "We would only achieve goals if we came together and became a family. I think of our team as like a rope made of many fibers and this week we lost a fiber but we got to continue to be a rope and we got to stay together."
Spears says, "She was a part of our team all year. She's still part of our team tonight and she'll be a part of our team for the rest of the season as long as we go."
Candice's services are at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Graham High School gymnasium.
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