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‘A great way to spread positivity’: McDaniel softball players put positive spin on short season

McDaniel College pitcher Fiona Johnson, shown pitching last season.
McDaniel College pitcher Fiona Johnson, shown pitching last season.(David Sinclair)

The coronavirus pandemic may have canceled McDaniel College’s softball season, but the Green Terror still found a way to lift each other up.

A few days after McDaniel announced, in conjunction with the Centennial Conference, that all athletic events and practices would be cancelled for the remainder of the spring semester in response to the threat of coronavirus, redshirt senior pitcher Fiona Johnson got to work.

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Johnson said she asked each of her teammates to send her a video clip of them catching a softball and throwing it out of the frame. She put the clips together and added music to the background using iMovie and TiKToK, a social media application that is used to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy and other videos.

She uploaded the finished product to TiKToK and Twitter on March 22. As of Wednesday afternoon, the video had more than 17,500 views, 856 likes, and 107 retweets on Twitter, and 1,896 views on TiKToK.

“It’s heartbreaking, but it hurt me more seeing all my teammates so upset about their individual situations,” Johnson said. “I almost saw it coming and it’s hard seeing everyone else deal with it. The great thing about the video we made was someone sent something in our group chat and said it would be cool if we could do something similar.

“The greatest part is that every time they sent me something, they were all happy and smiling. It was perfect and I was smiling at my phone at every single video.”

Former Century High School standout Emily Kain is seen in the video catching the ball and tossing it behind her head and out of sight. Kain, a two-time Times first-team all-countian, was just getting her freshman season underway at McDaniel before the cancellations hit.

The Green Terror (0-4) played four games in the Triangle Grand Slam Classic in Cary, North Carolina from Feb. 29 to March 1, and were preparing to play in the Spring Games in Clermont, Florida for a week. But the trip was canceled just one day before their intended departure.

Kain compiled a .364 batting average through McDaniel’s first four games.

Kain said the team’s trip to Florida was anticipated and she was looking forward to the opportunity to get closer to her teammates. A few players still went for a week, she said, but it wasn’t the same without softball.

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Century's Emily Kain sprints home, scoring a run on an errant throw against South Carroll during a softball playoff game at Century High School on Tuesday, May 14.
Century's Emily Kain sprints home, scoring a run on an errant throw against South Carroll during a softball playoff game at Century High School on Tuesday, May 14.(Brian Krista / Carroll County Times)

“I think [the video] is really cool because I know we heard a lot from other members that other teams are doing it now and it’s a great way to spread positivity,” Kain said. “No one can be together and the video is a minute long but in that one minute, people are coming together and people are happy.

“It’s cool that the media has caught on and spread it so that other people are able to do it too.”

Kain batted .345 as a senior at Century in 2019, with eight home runs and 23 RBIs.

Kain said she has kept herself busy with schoolwork and CrossFit, and said the CrossFit community has been a big help in providing workouts for her and others to do in self-quarantine.

Johnson said McDaniel president Roger Casey recently held a Q&A session in the campus chapel to address concerns regarding online education and what McDaniel students and faculty could expect in the coming weeks and months, before it was announced the college would move all undergraduate and graduate instruction to an online format for the remainder of the semester.

“I remember thinking this could get ugly, but I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket,” Johnson said. “It was always in the back of my head.”

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Johnson suffered an injury to her arm last spring and her redshirt approval became official last summer. She said she has been trying to make the best of the difficult circumstances by fishing, hiking, and journaling.

“I thought if this is the way that I go out, I’ll take it,” Johnson said. “A national, worldwide pandemic, if that’s really what’s going to take me out then my arm was done anyway. It got me thinking about Division I athletes waiting to make a career out of this last season and that’s a much bigger perspective.

“Putting things in perspective has been the glue for our team in staying together.”

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