Knees were knocking a little bit last Tuesday night in Griffith. The Panthers' softball team had just advanced to the championship game of the Class 3A Gavit Sectional.
Coach Ed McLeod was nervous. Griffith hadn't won a sectional title since 2007. The natives were getting restless.
That's when senior pitcher Rhiannon Cox stepped up to the plate.
"Coach, there's no way we're going to lose," she said. "We are going to win the sectional championship."
On Wednesday history was made. Cox only allowed two hits and struck out seven Gladiators as the Panthers won 10-0 in five innings.
Griffith (15-12) will host Andrean on Tuesday in the Class 3A Regional.
"I just knew we were going to win," Cox said after the win. "We've been waiting a long time for this. The seniors did not want to go out without winning this. This is just awesome for us."
The fact that Cox (14-12) is rolling now seems to go against the grain. She barely pitched last year as most of the innings went to Alex Latronica.
But all those minutes in the darkness of the dugout with yawns and desire to play didn't slow Cox down. She knew her time would come. She knew that patience was a virtue.
"She's been waiting for her moment and it's here," McLeod said. "I didn't get to see her pitch travel ball last summer but I got a lot of updates. I was hearing she was doing fine. People told me, 'You're not going to have any problems.'"
Cox will play for coach Larry Babcock at South Suburban College next year. She is joined by other local players Jaren Lynch (South Central), Ashley Hernandez (Lake Central), Kaitlin Stone (Boone Grove) and Mercedes McClendon (Merrillville).
Cox plans on becoming a nurse.
"I like to help people," she said. "I am a caring person."
While the Panthers will be considered underdogs against the 59ers on Tuesday, Cox and her mates could care less. Cox lost a nail biter against Andrean on April 26. Then, on May 11, Cox beat Crown Point, a signature win.
"We have a lot more confidence now," Cox said on Wednesday. "It doesn't matter who wins the (Kankakee Valley) sectional. We're going to come ready to play our game.
"We've been waiting for this to happen for a long time. We don't want it to end now."