**Note: This article originally published in The Reporter and on GameTimePA.com**
In a sports world full of massive egos and “look at me” mentalities, we often find ourselves rooting for the unassuming athlete to have the most success. That is exactly the case with Christopher Dock softball’s new stolen base queen, Emily Gordon.
The Dock senior, who broke the previous record of 62 steals in a 12-0 win over Oley Valley April 23, was just going about her business with another strong performance on the field before the record-breaking swipe.
“I actually did not know it was coming,’ Gordon said of the record. “I was behind Lanae Hunsberger, she was on second I was on first. (Christopher Dock head coach Wayne Benner) had her steal and I was like, ‘˜I hope she can make it,’ because I was nervous. I got over there and he calls a timeout and comes running over to me.
“I thought he was going to tell me she was going to steal home or something crazy. Then he’s like, ‘You got number 63.’ The feeling of getting the record and knowing I’m the person to do that when softball is my number one sport was great — it’s indescribable.’
What Gordon can easily describe is where her roots come from — the many people who taught her to play hard and play the right way. Although I guess you could say when she first started Gordon wanted to play the left way.
“When I was six I started T-ball,’ she said about her first memories on the diamond. “I remember my first T-ball game I hit the ball and started running the wrong way. Since then, when I learned to run the bases correctly, I loved playing softball. It’s just something I found a talent in and I found a passion for so I’ve been playing ever since.’
The talent and passion are both entrenched within the Gordon family, and that’s where Emily’s first role models came from.
“Definitely my dad,’ said Gordon when asked about who she models herself after on the field. “I also looked up to my older brother, who played baseball because of my dad as well… Baseball and softball was something we were known for, and something we loved to do together as a family too.’
As Gordon grew up and her talent began to rise, she listened more and more to her coaches, as any humble star would do to continue getting better.
“My one travel coach, Brad Hughes, was a big role model for me,’ she said. “He was very big on sportsmanship and playing the game the right way and doing your best. Also, my two coaches (at Christopher Dock), coach Benner and Bre Dickerson are huge role models for me. Wayne loves the game and he shows it every day. Looking up to them and where they’ve been with the game of softball shows me where I want to be.’
Any player who calls their coach by his first name had better earn his respect. As you probably could have guessed, Gordon has certainly done that with Benner.
“She’s a senior this year, but she’s been a four-year player,’ Benner said about Gordon. “Her first year she wasn’t catching for us, we had a really good catcher (Aly Shilling) who is catching at Alvernia now. (Gordon has) just been here every day — she never misses a day.
“I know, between the baserunning and the catching, she’s really beat up a lot but she doesn’t want to come out. She’s just a great player… She continues to get better and better as a hitter too. I’m gonna hate to lose her.’
It’s clear this player-coach relationship has a mutual respect. Benner is one of Gordon’s biggest supporters on and off the field, and she may not hold the stolen base record today if it weren’t for her coach.
“(Benner) times us running the bases and running from first to second,’ Gordon said about one of her first interactions with her coach. “I remember when I came out here I was a freshman and all the seniors were watching me run and they were all impressed. Ever since that day I saw the record, and (Benner) told me he knew I could beat it, so I was like ‘˜I’m going to beat this.”
So what’s next for Christopher Dock’s stolen base leader? Steal more bases somewhere else of course.
“I’m going to Montco for two years,’ she said. “Hopefully, I’ll be on the team there. I might look into another travel team to play on for next year at least…I definitely want to come back here and help out with the team next year just because I’ll be around, hopefully (Benner) will let me.’
I think it’s safe to assume he will. But that won’t stop this modest ballplayer from earning it every step of the way
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