Ravenwood and Page both have unusual home softball games Saturday, and there is much more involved than just an athletic event.
Ravenwood hosts the final Pack the Park for Patton game, with pre-game ceremonies beginning at 2 p.m., in a district contest with cross-town rival Brentwood.
The game honors the memory of Elizabeth Patton, a star center fielder for the Lady Raptors who would have been a senior on the 2009 team. Patton died in November 2008 of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare, serious disorder of your skin and mucous membranes, usually developed as a reaction to medication or an infection.
Since Elizabeth’s death her parents, Benton and Carrie Patton, have joined with friends and the community, to raise money for a scholarship in their daughter’s name.
The Elizabeth Patton Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to selected Ravenwood athletes. Donations to the fund will be collected in Patton’s honor at the gate Thursday night.
Since the arrival of Ravenwood’s Allyson Brown and Brentwood coach Erica Powell, it has become a tradition that the two rivals meet for this game.
“I think highly of Allison and her softball program at Ravenwood. And despite the deep rivalry, there are things way bigger than softball and this is one of them,” explained Powell.
Down the road in Rudderville at 4:15 p.m., the Page Lady Patriots hosts Nolensville in their Second Annual Valen L. Cooper Night, an event for team alumni and current seniors. Former players will be honored, and the Lady Pats’ five seniors will be presented.
One of those five will be award the Valen L. Cooper Scholarship, awarded by Cooper’s parents in memory of Cooper, a former Page player.
Cooper was a 2003 graduate of Page, a standout catcher who started all four years she played before accepting an offer to play in college in Daytona Beach, Florida, before an injury ended her career in 2004.
“I had the distinct honor of playing with Valen my freshman year at Page,” currently Lady Patriots Coach Dawn Hale shared recently. “She was a senior and the epitome of what leadership should look like. She led by example, was always smiling and the best and most positive attitude of anyone on the team.”
Cooper planned on becoming an assistant coach at Page, but on a snowy January night in 2005, less than a mile from her home, Cooper’s car slid off the road. She did not survive.
When Hale returned to Page as the softball coach three years ago, she knew she wanted to do something special in memory of her teammate.
“I wanted to dedicate a night during the season to her; to the teach the girls what true leadership and loyalty is about," Hale said. "We wear “7” on this night to honor her and the amazing student, player, and person she was.”