By Benjamin Cohn
Weaverville – Family, teammates, coaches and supporters met Tuesday morning in North Buncombe High’s library to celebrate senior softball player Caitlin Griffin’s selection to play for Western Carolina University in Fall 2019.
Griffin’s parents, David and Tracie, showed up early to set up their daughter’s signing table, complete with the student-athlete’s high school softball uniform, Western Carolina University- themed apparel and a mixture of gold and purple balloons. They were disappointed to learn that Griffin’s head coach Tiffani Fergueson couldn’t attend, and that NCAA rules prohibited WCU representatives from attending.
However, dozens of Griffin’s family members, classmates and fellow softball players gathered to hear assistant principal David Rhoney introduce the woman of the hour. Rhoney began by acknowledging Griffin’s accomplishment and what it means to North Buncombe High.
“[Griffin has been given] … the opportunity to go on and represent our school, our community, everybody involved. So, first of all, welcome to everyone that’s here. Mom and Dad, coaches, friends, teammates, youth league coaches, on and…,” Rhoney said.
“I can kind of speak to this because I’ve known [Caitlin] since she was, like, six or seven years old. I know how many hours Dad spent on that bucket, catching balls and throwing them back and forth. I know how many hours and dollars they spent buying equipment, going to travel ball tournaments, lessons, all those things.”
Rhoney again congratulated Griffin but reminded the audience that hers was a group effort.
“It’s a huge accomplishment, but it’s not just something that [Caitlin] did on her own. Yes, she put in a ton of work, but it took Mom and Dad, it took youth league coaches, it took travel ball coaches and it took teammates. So, everybody who’s had a part of that has a part of this.”
The assistant principal spoke of BlackHawk pride and imagined a bright future for his school’s latest star.
“And so therefore that’s where your pride as a BlackHawk, as an athlete, as a friend of [Caitlin’s] should come from. That’s where our pride comes from, because it is one of ours who we know – and I know [Caitlin] very well – and she will go on and represent us in a very positive way, and we’re excited about seeing what that will look like in the future. Hopefully this will not be the last time she’s on the news. Hopefully it will be for all the right reasons [big laugh from crowd].”
According to Max Preps, one of the nation’s leading high school sports aggregators, Griffin played a total of 63 games during her varsity career as a BlackHawk. Her overall batting average sits at 0.387, she’s appeared at bat 212 times and has scored 56 runs.
As a pitcher, Griffin’s varsity earned run average is 2.33, her win rate a respectable 70 percent.