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The Yankee Express

Garon Moving on to Play Softball in College

By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer

Growing up Charlton’s Grace Garon never imagined that sports would take her where she eventually wanted to be. At the age of five, she found out that her father had signed her up to play softball for the local town program. Garon would also play soccer and basketball, but it was her love for softball that kept her going.
“I loved how much confidence the game gave me,” she said. “I began to feel that I was better than a lot of the other kids and when I hit my first homerun at the age of 9, my coach was really proud of me and it made me feel special and even more confident in my game.”
In addition to playing youth softball, Garon would join the Charlton Wildfire, a travel softball team during the summer. She would eventually leave them for the Rhode Island Thunder, a team she has been with the past five years.
Entering Shepherd Hill Regional, she knew that she wanted to try out for the softball team, but being a Covid year she knew that the school would only have a varsity team making it that much tougher for the freshman.
“I really wanted to make the team, but with Covid I didn’t know what to expect,” Garon said. “After making the varsity team I figured that I would never start and at best get into a few games here and there.”
Little did she know Rams coach John Synder had a plan for the incoming freshman. When the lineup card came out for the first game of the season it had Garon’s name penciled in at second base, batting fifth. The freshman was excited, but also scared. Despite being nervous, she let her confidence give her the ability to go out and play the game. 
Garon would go on to start every game during that Covid-shortened season and recalled the team, as a whole, did really well that year. And, although there were no playoffs, she remembers vividly how Shepherd Hill finally was able to beat Wachusett, a team the Rams had not beaten in a very long time.
Following her initial season with the Rams she knew that softball was something that she wanted to do long term; so much she gave up her other sport soccer to focus on softball. 
“I knew now that I wanted to be able to play softball in college, so I started going to some college camps during the summer in addition to continue playing for my travel team,” she said. “(Coach) John told me to get as many looks as I could, put my name out there in the college coaches heads.” 
During her high school career Garon was not only a four-year starter, but was named to the Mid Wach All-Star team three times while amassing 96 hits, 12 home runs, 70 RBI, scoring 75 runs and batting .412 over her career. She also possessed terrific speed on the bases and flashed superb fielding at both shortstop and in the outfield.
“Here, stats speak for themselves, but if not for Covid I believe she would have gone over 100 in hits which is a huge accomplishment in softball,” Coach Synder said. “She’ll do anything that is asked of her and having a very young team this year, she and the other three captains, took them all under their wings and guided them through the season.”
The senior captain truly appreciates her 96 hits and although finding it an amazing feat, she never saw herself accomplishing the feat.
“I had always seen posts about others reaching 100 hits, but I never thought that I could get to that point,” she said. “Ninety-six hits is amazing, but being so close now I wish I was able to have accomplished it.”
Synder continued to say, that Garon put together a great season at the shortstop position this spring; a position she had never played before until the team needed someone to fill the void last year. According to the coach, she has not only improved on a regular basis, but she flourished there.
With her high school career over, it is now time for the Charlton native to take her game to the next level. Come this fall she will be attending Emmanuel College in Boston where she will play softball for the Saints, but originally the school was not anywhere on Garon’s radar.
“I never really thought about Emmanuel as I didn’t think that I’d like living in the city. I was looking at schools like Western New England, Endicott, and Wheaton,” Garon said. “The school got a new coach last July and I emailed her and she invited me to come in for a visit, two weeks later I got an offer to play softball from her.”
Garon is committed to play both shortstop and the outfield for the Saints. “Growing up going through the Charlton softball program there seemed to be so many players that were better than I was,” she said. “I never thought that I was that good and would be able to accomplish what I have.”
The softball player was also named a Micky Sullivan Award winner this year. The Massachusetts Secondary Schools Athletic Directors Association honors students who have made contributions to high school athletics in a meaningful and lasting way. Garon organized and implemented the school’s cancer awareness game to honor the family of Dawn Lindstrom, who died of ovarian cancer. 
“We all knew the family and I took a leadership role and helped set up a go-fund me page where we generated $2000,” she said. “I was honored to receive the award, something that I knew absolutely nothing about prior, but it was a team effort.”
Garon will continue to play softball this summer with the Rhode Island Thunder before eventually heading off to Boston to start her studies while also enjoying her time on the softball field at Emmanuel College.