Stone County teen takes the mound for ‘inspirational’ game just two days after death of his dad
WIGGINS, Miss. (WLOX) - Across the Stone County High baseball field, signs read, “There’s no place like Stone.” As junior pitcher Gehrig Conard says, the Stone Community has never felt more like a family.
Gehrig lost his father and Stone High athletic director, Kevin Conard, on May 12. Just two days later, Gehrig took the mound in Stone’s playoff game against Purvis and threw one of the best games of his career.
“I couldn’t have imagined it being any more perfect, all the love and support,” he said. “I just wanted to go out there and make him proud.”
But before the final out, Conard met with his teammates at the mound one last time.
“My catcher told me, he came up and said, ‘Man G, you’re about to throw this 95 right down the middle.’ I said, ‘Alright,’ and everybody told me they loved me and went back to their spots,” recalled Gehrig. “I didn’t even know where I threw it. It was a little blurry but I just threw it and, you know, the end is the end.”
Gehrig finished the day with ten strikeouts.
Gehrig says the strength of his teammates, his community, and his family is what keeps him going, but if you ask his teammates and coaches, Gehrig is the true inspiration.
“That right there is a testament to his character and will and drive -- everything that his dad has instilled in him,” said Stone High baseball coach Sean Miller. “The kid went out there and did it. It was the greatest experience I’ve had as a coach and I’ve been coaching for 24 years. It doesn’t get any better than that. If that would’ve been my last game coaching, I would’ve been fine with that.”
“Out of all the games that I’ve caught Gehrig this year, that was probably the most special night. Out of the three no-hitters, all the shutouts, that was the best game all around that I’ve been a part of,” said Stone catcher Triston Hickman. “To see a 17-year-old kid lose his dad and then go out there and have that kind of performance, it’s pretty inspirational.”
In baseball, the pitcher’s mound can be a lonely place to find yourself, but for Gehrig, his father is right there beside him
“The thoughts that went through my mind on the mound that night was different than any other night,” said an emotional Gehrig. “I would just hear him saying things to me. Like when I threw a bad pitch, I’d hear ‘Shake it off, you got this.’ He would’ve shook my hand, told me good job, not to get satisfied and get ready for next week.”
Stone is back in action on Thursday as they look to take game one in the South State Championship over Sumrall.
READ MORE ON HOW STONE COUNTY IS REMEMBERING KEVIN CONARD BELOW.
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