SPRINGFIELD — Francie Gaskin ended her Effingham County softball career as an all-time leader in an important category. She had more fun while wearing a Lady Rebels uniform than just about anyone.
“She’s one of those kids that’s just fun to be around,” said Matt Huntley, Effingham County’s athletic director “She’s always got jokes — on anybody.”
In addition to her uncanny ability to hurl perfectly timed verbal barbs at her teammates and coaches, Gaskin is deft with a bat and glove, too. Those skills earned the versatile performer the opportunity to join teammate Jaci Coleman at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort this fall. Gaskin signed with the Sand Sharks on Dec. 20.
Gaskin’s desire to be a Lady Rebel was so powerful that she gladly sacrificed a year of eligibility after transferring from South Effingham.
“We were fortunate to have Francie decide to come over here,” Huntley said. “She was just a pleasure to have and a lot of fun. She comes from a great family.”
Gaskin inherited her gift for zingers from her father, Tim, and she was his primary target during a Powder Puff football game at Rebel Field on Dec. 5.
While serving as the public address announcer, he relentlessly made fun of her running ability and other things.
“People were calling me from the community saying, ‘Y’all need to fire that announcer because he just hammers that one girl,” Huntley said, drawing big laughs from the crowd at Gaskin’s signing ceremony.
Gaskin rolled with her father’s punches, proving that she can take a hit as well as she delivers them.
“He’s my best friend,” she said.
Lady Rebels head coach Jane Trzaska referred to Gaskin as “a hoot.”
“It’s fun to be around her and she keeps everybody laughing,” she said. “It was a joy and an honor to coach her.”
Gaskin, who played pitcher, catcher and the corner infield positions, thinks keeping things light and lively on the field and in the dugout was crucial to the Lady Rebels’ 2019 success. They won their third straight Region 2-AAAAAA title and posted a 25-5 record.
“I believe it keeps everybody on an even keel and lowers the pressure,” she said.
Gaskin expects to play first or third base at USCB — and lots more jokes. She enjoys working with special-needs children and is considering a nursing career.