Aplington-Parkersburg Softball Team Will Finish Season

By:Claire Kellett, Anchor/Reporter

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By Claire Kellett

PARKERSBURG - People in Parkersburg are not letting a tornado take away their town spirit. Families are making plans to rebuild homes and students are continuing school activities. Now high school students are turning to sports as a distraction from the destruction. Despite a ruined field and not having all of the equipment and uniforms, the softball team just learned it will finish its season.

Metal siding sits where a shortstop stands. Yellow tape marks off the area where a backstop once stood. The Aplington Parkersburg High School Softball field is in shambles, but the home team is stronger than ever.

"Stronger than mother nature is human nature and we're strong," Paula Buchholz, the softball coach.

Coach Paula Buchholz calls it Falcon Strong. The school pride brought her to tears Thursday as her team talked about the rest of the season inside the elementary school library.

"It was hard to think I might never play softball again. That we might not finish my senior year," says Molly Stock, a softball player.

But softball will serve as an uplifting escape from the devastation consuming Parkersburg for both the players and coach Buchholz. The tornado leveled her family's house.

"I've taken care of my family, now it's time for me to take care of my extended family," says Coach Buchholz.

Her extended family is finding strength in one another and gathering the equipment to be a softball team again.

"Just being out there playing with each other, we're so tight. We wanted to finish this season because it was supposed to be a good season," says Meghan Flanigan, a softball player.

Now it's not about winning or losing, the shortened season will be about building lifelong friendship.

"I want to go to their wedding, they're baby showers, and I will never forget them, we're family, they're stuck with me," says Coach Buchholz.

The players say that's okay, because once a falcon always a falcon.

"We will rebuild, we will be A-P again," says Stock.

And the A-P softball team will take their field again no matter how long it takes.

The varsity softball team has its first away game since the tornado on Monday. It will be playing all of its home games at the baseball field at the middle school.

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