Today was her birthday. Happy birthday to USC Upstate’s Cheyenne Griffin.
Instead of 20 candles on a birthday cake Griffin celebrated with four hits, including two home runs, and four runs batted in.
In game one Friday against Lipscomb Griffin tied the game with a two-run home run over the left center field fence. Lipscomb came back with two runs in the seventh for a 4-2 win dropping the Spartans into the loser’s bracket.
In the final game of the night, a rain-delayed contest with North Florida, Griffin connected for three hits, including her second home run, and added two more RBI in a 9-2 win.
“In the past when I have played on my birthday I didn’t win,” Griffin said. “Today was a good time to break the streak.
“I knew we were going to break that streak today somehow. If it wasn’t the first game I knew it would be the second one.”
Griffin has not been pleased with her hitting despite the fact she is batting over .300 for the season.
“I get timely hits when I need to help the team out,” Griffin said. “I don’t know what it was today, but my team was behind me no matter what.
“I felt great today. I was just swinging the bat hard at good pitches. We are hitting the ball well as a team like we were at the beginning of the season.”
No special events were planned for her birthday. Getting the chance to play softball was enough of a present for her.
“Just being with my team is where I want to be,” Griffin said. “There is not anything else I would rather be doing than playing on this field with my team.”
USC Upstate coach Chris Hawkins counts Griffin as one of the leaders of the team.
“Cheyenne really showed out,” Hawkins said. “She hit the ball real hard for us.
“She is an awesome kid. She loves playing softball. She loves being a team player. She is a perfect leader.”
Hawkins has been putting an extra emphasis on hitting the past several games. He was happy to see Griffin do so well at the plate on her birthday.
“I couldn’t be more proud for anybody,” Hawkins said. “She works so hard. She is such a good kid. It was good to see her have this kind of day on her 20th birthday.
“She is a real good first baseman and an extremely good athlete. She does well in school. She is a very religious person. She is always positive. She is never negative.
She can handle failure and she can handle success. She is about as close to a total package as you could possibly have.”
Hawkins thinks the way his team has hit in the tournament has been a confidence boost.
“Through the middle of the season we were leading the nation in hitting,” Hawkins said.
“And towards the end of the season we couldn’t hit anything.
“I am glad to see them bounce back. When girls hit the ball hard it gives them a lot of confidence. When they go through streaks where they are 0-for-10 or 0-for-12 with some strikeouts they really get down on themselves. Now we are doing the things we need to do.”