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Forney softball starts regional semis Friday. 7 years ago this week, Jackrabbits fought through tragedy

As Forney prepares for its Class 5A Region 2 semifinal series against Prosper Walnut Grove, we can’t forget one of its own gaining her wings seven years ago this week. Emily Galiano, who was a 14-year old freshman, died during the same round in 2017 after a team dinner when she was struck by a Jeep driven by a teammate.

The Jackrabbits and the softball community mourned for Galiano, but the softball team would end up beating Mansfield Lake Ridge in the regional semifinals. The team received outpouring support from other schools across the metroplex. Forney’s season came to an end in the next round against The Colony, which went on to win the 2017 Class 5A state championship.

Galiano was a teammate, player, friend, family member, daughter and twin; her sister Madison Galiano played on the junior varsity team in 2017 while Emily was on varsity playing outfield. Madison went on to play college softball at Hardin-Simmons.

The following year, Forney completed its quest for Emily by winning the state title. The Jackrabbits went 35-6 and won 25-straight games. They avenged the 2017 loss and beat defending champ The Colony 13-1 and 4-3 in the second round. They met up with Lake Ridge in the fourth round again and won 12-1 and 8-3.

Forney reached Austin for the state tournament and beat Barbers Hill 2-0 in the semifinals before winning it all with a 4-1 victory over Richmond Foster.

It was the program’s fourth trip to state, but first championship trophy.

The entire team took a trip to see Emily after the win. Madison placed the state medal on her sister’s tombstone. “Sis likes the bling,” she said.

Forney was made up with tremendous talent that included Caroline Tedder, Hannah Holdbrook, Trinity Cannon, Sam Coker, Savanna DesRochers, Vanessa Hollingsworth, Sadie Hewitt, Tatum Stover, Caleigh Cross.

Cannon is finishing her college career at Texas A&M.

DesRochers just finished hers at Kansas.

This week Forney (36-2-3) faces Walnut Grove (37-3) with the three-game series starting 7 pm Friday at Plano East HS with Game 2 and 3 on Saturday. Forney won in the regional quarterfinals after beating Lucas Lovejoy in Game 3.

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