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A league of their own

POSTED: June 16, 2017 8:46 a.m.
Ted O'Neil/

Members of the Bad News Cats, a co-ed softball team made up of teachers, administrators and staff from South Bryan County schools, in the dugout before a recent game.

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School personnel spend countless hours focusing on student activities during the academic year — especially athletic events.

Come summer, however, it is time for them to show off their own athletic skills. Hence the creation of the Bad News Cats, a co-ed softball team made up of teachers, administrators and staff primarily from Richmond Hill High School.

“We started it last year and everyone had so much fun that we put together a team again this year,” said RHHS Principal Debi McNeal. “We have teachers, administrators, staff, spouses and even a former student.”

The team also includes some players from other South Bryan schools said McNeal, who is not on the team but tries to make it to as many games as possible to cheer them on.

Team members are: Lisa Miller, Jonathan Lea, Kristin Lea, Cooper Russell, Craig Russell, Caroline Smith, Michael Riccio, Whitney Collins, Kim Collins, Al Fulwood, Jamie Hillen, Tiffani Russell, Charles Blanks, Bivins Miller, Amy Blocker, Annemarie Crawford, Sherry Lehman, Lois Kiser and Michael Clark.

The Bad News Cats play at DeVaul Henderson Park and their schedule can be found at http://www.bryancountyga.org/home/showdocument?id=1360.

“We keep telling the students to come and watch,” McNeal said. “We spend so much time watching their games that it would be fun to have them come out and cheer us on.”

Because summer is also a time for vacations, the team takes steps to make sure enough players show up for each game. And what would an activity among teachers be without Google Docs?

Jonathan Lea, assistant principal at RHHS and the team’s coach, put one together so that players can let him know what games they are not available for.

McNeal said she thinks the team has made for more camaraderie at the school.

“Our campus is so big, it’s pretty much impossible to know everyone,” she said. “It’s like any company that puts together a softball team and lets you get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere.”

There has also been talk of the staff from Bryan County High School and Bryan County Middle School fielding a team next season.

McNeal also said the staff from the two high schools might play a softball game against each other at the beginning of the school year in August.

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