On Wednesday, April 21, the Pebblebrook Falcons traveled just a few miles from home to take on the Newnan Cougars on a very famous baseball field. The final regional game of the season for the Falcons was originally scheduled to be played at Newnan, but a tragedy at the Newnan campus in late March forced the game to be moved elsewhere.
On March 25, a tornado ripped through Newnan High School and the surrounding area. In minutes, the campus was rendered essentially unusable, and Newnan students and athletes were left without a home.
“This is not a game to celebrate us but a game to recognize our friends,” said Pebblebrook Head Coach Jason Ryals. “They have been through a trauma, and we are here to help distract them from the pain. Newnan has lost not only a field but also a home. We can’t forget that.”
In order to allow the game to proceed as planned, officials at Truist Park offered the Atlanta Braves home field for the high school contest. The Braves were on a week-long travel stint at the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees. The timing was right, and the field was available, and the Braves were happy to accommodate.
“It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Coach Ryals. “It’s a game where the scoreboard is secondary.”
Although the circumstances that led to the game being played at Truist Park were tragic, the moment was still very special for both teams. “It is hard to express in words how special this game is,” said Coach Ryals. “Every kid in baseball dreams of playing in a major league park. Our teams get to cherish the feeling of pitching from the Braves’ mound or hitting in the batter’s box.”
Before the game began, Pebblebrook CCCEPA (Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts) student Colleen Allard-Smith sang the national anthem. It was a sober reminder of the reason for the game being moved but also a hopeful note of better things to come.
“We are excited to be here,” said Pebblebrook Principal Dr. Dana Giles. “Our hearts and our prayers continue to be with the Newnan community as they put back together their lives. We will be giving them a donation on behalf of Pebblebrook High School to make sure they continue to flourish in their athletics. We look forward to sharing that with them.”
Cobb County Article