Emily Caron has been a dominant force for Forsyth Central this season.
Through 24 games, she has a .459 batting average with 18 RBIs. She’s also been a vocal leader for the Bulldogs, providing energy game in and game out.
However, the season didn’t get off to the best start.
“We have a rule that if you miss practice or can’t participate in practice, you can’t play in the next game” Caron said. “So, it took a lot for me to be able to come back to play, because I was absent from practice because my travel coach didn’t want me to hurt myself during our travel season.”
After missing the team’s opening game against Dawson County, Caron made her season debut in the fifth inning against Johns Creek.
Subbing in for Caroline Heard, Caron didn’t waste her opportunity.
With the team already up 5-0, Caron hit the first of her four home runs so far this season, sparking the team to an 8-0 victory.
For Caron, it was worth a lot more than one run. It proved to everyone that the team mattered to her.
“It was a big deal,” Caron admitted. “I had to earn my spot back since I had been absent from practices. It was really important for me to show that I can still help and be a part of this team and showing that I care, and I want us to all keep going.”
Caron didn’t treat the at-bat as a make-or-break scenario for her, but she definitely recognized that it carried a little extra weight.
“I was telling myself, no matter what happens, you belong here,” Caron said. “It felt really good to come off the bat like that.”
Central head coach Kelly Gordon was proud of the way Caron responded to the situation.
“We had a long conversation about that,” Gordon said. “I think it was good for her to take ownership of that and understand that every game isn’t given to you. You have to earn it every single pitch and every single game. It was really awesome to see her step up and do that.”
While it was a nice moment for the team, it wasn’t an unexpected at-bat for Caron.
“We were expecting for her to have a big year,” Gordon said. “We knew that she was gonna be one of our better hitters. It was awesome for her to come in in that kind of situation and be big in that moment. I think the best players are their very best in the biggest moments. It’s good to see her step up to the plate and rise to the occasion.”
Caron’s been playing softball since she was very young. She’s dabbled with other sports, but she always came back to softball.
“I’ve tried multiple sports,” Caron said. “I tried gymnastics, I did soccer for a while, I did ballet. Any sport I’d play, I always had to pick between that and softball. Softball’s always won out.”
Her dad’s passion for baseball created a special bond between them while she’s on the field.
“My dad had a past with baseball,” Caron said. “He used to play slow-pitch softball as he got older. We always had that connection. Father-daughter time on the field. I always felt stronger in softball than soccer because we’d always connect on that level.”
The motivation her dad provides isn’t limited to the softball field. He’s also not the only inspiring parent in the family.
“In school, he encourages me to keep going,” Caron said. “Same with my mom, too. He always pushes me to be better in softball and always helps me get that extra work in.”
Caron is a player that you’re always going to hear. She’s constantly providing motivation to her teammates.
“I’m always energetic,” Caron said. “I always have a positive attitude. If anything ever goes wrong in a way that I wouldn’t like it to come out, [the team] always cheers me up. I feel like I’m always showing positive energy.”
Gordon agrees that Caron’s energy is what has allowed her to be a leader on the team.
“She’s definitely very loud,” Gordon said. “She always has a positive energy, always up and talking in the dugout, which is super important when things aren’t necessarily going your way, just hearing that positive voice in the dugout. She has a high softball IQ, and she’s learning how to spread that throughout the program and lead our younger girls into better understanding the game itself.”
That energy is something Caron wants to maintain for the rest of the season.
“Continue to keep the good energy,” Caron said. “Even if it doesn’t work out, and we lose, we still always have that connection that carries to the next game. I just hope that it continues being fun.”
Caron is looking to play softball at the next level, and Gordon believes her growth has her trending in the right direction.
“This is the second year I’ve coached her, and I’ve definitely seen a lot of growth from her this year,” Gordon said. “She’s definitely maturing and growing into her role as a leader on the team. I know she has aspirations to play at the next level. I can definitely see that she not only has the physical skillset now but is learning the mental side of the game and becoming a leader and learning situational stuff and increasing her softball IQ, which I think will definitely help her play at the next level.”