GATESVILLE – Athletes and coaches from Gatesville boast about their small-town feel and “family” atmosphere.Everyone cheers for everyone. Everyone supports everyone.

“We preach ‘We’ and not ‘I’ in any team sport,” said Hornet assistant softball coach Alan Weihausen.There was no better example than Thursday, the start of the seventh annual Gatesville Tournament. First-year softball coach Crystal O’Brien was missing from the Hornets’ three Pool A games. Without her Gatesville split its opening two before ending the day with a 5-2 win over Troy.

O’Brien had good reason to miss her team’s games – she gave birth to her third child in the morning. She had led Gatesville in its season-opening win Tuesday, but is expected to miss around 2 1/2 weeks.

“It says a lot during a game when the players are still worried about their coach having a baby and wanting to know if there’s any results on the baby,” said Weihausen, who takes over in leading the team. “It’s respect driven and a team unit. It makes it really,  really fun to coach a group of girls and coach at a program that is so team oriented.”

By Gatesville’s third game, a sign was posted at the field’s entrance welcoming James Jacob O’Brien. The Hornets wore blue ribbons in their hair, while parents and school staff lent a hand.

“Tons of different coaches have come out here to help set things up and we were up here Sunday setting things up so (Coach O’Brien) wouldn’t have to worry about it,” said catcher Amber Colson.One coach helping directly is David Truss, a football and basketball assistant and former baseball coach. With a light spring schedule and his background, Truss was asked to assist.

He’d likely be at the park anyway, as his daughter, Skye Truss, plays third base.

“This is why I live here and why I’ve always enjoyed it here,” said Truss, a Gatesville graduate himself along with wife and fellow coach Lisa. “The support is that way – that’s the reason you stay at a place as long as I’ve stayed here.”

The gameplan didn’t change – the Hornets were aggressive. After falling behind 1-0 to Troy, Gatesville immediately returned the favor.

Megan Chambers singled to lead off the third inning, Lauren Nichols walked and Ashley Cook ran out a bunt single to load the bases. Paige Chambers followed with a third single, scoring her sister and Nichols.

Colson made it 3-1 with a sacrifice fly and Allison Aslin brought Paige Chambers around.“I’m very pleased with how they’re attacking everything,” Weihausen said. “They’re attacking everything on defense and they’re attacking everything on the bases.”

Gatesville opened the day with a 14-0 win over Rio Vista before falling to Waco Reicher 3-1. The Hornets face China Spring at 12:30 p.m. today. Right before (10:45 a.m.) is Reicher taking on Shoemaker.

The Lady Grey Wolves dropped their three Pool B games, losing to Rogers (10-0), Austin Anderson (11-1) and China Spring (3-2). Shoemaker led 2-0 early before China Spring tied it in the fourth inning and won it in the fifth.

“It was kind of a reality check because we started out strong,” said Shoemaker coach Stacy Halim, whose team won its opener and fared well in its scrimmages. “So, we needed to be reminded that it’s not just enough to show up.”

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