NEWCASTLE — As word spread throughout the stands Aug. 16 about Newcastle softball coach Mike Crossley's accomplishment, there was a subtle realization among a few in the crowd.
Crossley had just earned his 800th win as a softball coach. In the stands sat the catcher from his first win, Misti Gravatt, who was there watching her daughter, Allyson LeClaire, play right field.
The three of them then posed for a picture to commemorate the significance of the night.
“It was a joy for me to play for Mike and to see my daughter play for him all these years later it means a lot to me and means a lot to her,” said Gravatt, who was known as Misti Shipman in win No. 1 in 1988.
“He's like family, this program is like family to us, so I've grown up in it and she has too.”
In Crossley's 25 seasons, he has yet to win a state title in either softball or baseball, a sport in which he has amassed 553 wins.
But during that span he's instilled a sense of pride and tradition around the school.
“It's really special to me because my mom means everything to me and now I'm getting to play for her coach that she played high school with,” LeClaire said. “I just like it because I got to know him better since she grew up around him and it just feels different. It feels right.”
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