Stillman softball’s four-legged member a winning season contributor
By WVUA 23 Sports Reporter Grace Brister
Stillman College softball is having one of its best seasons ever with a 33-15 overall record. But the team’s success has been about just a little more than scoring runs and pitching strikes: They’re doing it for Smalls, a dog rescued by head coach Joel Penfield.
“I came down the day after Christmas; I decided I was just gonna come down and do some work on the field,” Penfield said. “I’d been here about 30 minutes or so, and I kept hearing a noise and couldn’t figure out what it was. When I realized, she was a little ole puppy. She was on the verge of freezing and starving to death, was about 5 or 6 months and she didn’t weigh but 15 pounds. That was heartbreaking right there.”
Penfield said finding Smalls that day was meant to be.
“Something just told me to go down there,” Penfield said. “God sent me down here for some reason, and that was to find her in this dugout.”
When the team found out about Smalls, she became an immediate part of the team.
“(Players had) been talking over the last few years, saying we need a dog or somebody to hang out with,” Penfield said. “A lot of the other schools have them.”
Senior shortstop Bailie Seales said Smalls brings the team together like nobody else can.
“You know the saying, ‘right place right time,’ I believe that’s what it was,” Seales said. “It brought everyone together cause they connected with the dog right away. Every time the dog shows up, our smiles brighten. One time it ran out on the field and Coach P had to go get it, so it’s always exciting when Smalls is around.”
Penfield said he has no plans on finding Smalls a new home. She’s right where she belongs, but she does have some growing to do.
“Hopefully that puppy will get out of her and she’ll be a lot more contained when she can come down here and hang out with us,” Penfield said. “On a daily basis is what I’d really like.”
The Tigers face Faulkner University May 4 at 10 a.m. in the Southern States Athletic Conference Softball Championships.