Two Green Country softball players, who are competitors on the field, have struck up a friendship off it because of one play.
Two weeks ago, Gracie Petty and Kaylee Hutton didn't know the other existed; today, they're practically finishing each other's sentences.
“I want pizza,” Kaylee said. “I was thinking the same thing, I really was,” Gracie said back laughing.
The two came face-to-face for the first time last week when Glenpool's eighth grade softball team played Beggs.
It was the first inning and Kaylee was the second batter. She hit a line drive down the first-base line. Gracie was playing first, but the ball was coming at her so fast she didn't have time to react, so it hit her in the face, and that's how the friendship started.
Gracie will have the scar to prove it. The coaches say the ball hit her going at about 100 miles per hour. It shattered her nose and forehead.
“I remember seeing the ball coming toward my face and then I kind of blacked out for a few seconds as I was falling, and then I just remember seeing blood everywhere,” Gracie said. “I couldn't do anything, but, like, pray. I was scared out of my mind.”
Gracie didn’t cry once; it was a different story for Kaylee.
“As soon as I got to the base I was shaking and I was crying and my coach just got me away,” Kaylee said. “I probably freaked out more than she did. She was very calm.”
Gracie went to the hospital where a surgeon put seven titanium plates and mesh in her face. She had many visitors during her stay at the hospital — the most special, though, was Kaylee.
Kaylee said, “We shook hands, we hugged. I cried. She was like, 'It's OK, don't cry, I'm fine.'”
“I told her that if my face wasn't there, she probably could have made a home run,” Grace said giggling.
And in that moment, holding the ball that brought them together, two competitors became friends for a lifetime.
“Sometimes friends can get you through things that parents or family can't,” Gracie said. “She has helped me get through this just a little bit because she's helped me stay strong and keep pushing just to get better.”
“She's been an inspiring person to me, you know how strong she's been, I wouldn't have been that strong, I would have been bawling,” Kaylee said. “It's a lucky friendship that was made.”
Gracie has to sit out the rest of the softball season while her face heals, but the injury didn’t cause any eye or brain damage.