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GILLESPIE, Ill. – With the days of turning double plays on hold, for now, the Gillespie Miner’s softball team is making a move off the field that are equally impressive. Head coach Michelle Smith is teaching her students and athletes the right plays in the bigger game.

“IHSA has put us on suspension until we know what’s going on with school,” said Smith, coach at Gillespie High and Middle schools. “We’re hopeful we’ll get to finish somewhat of a season when we come back.”

Smith, who also teaches biology at the high school, pitched an idea to her players.

“Yesterday decided let’s try and do what we can. So, I called upon a couple of my students and one of my ballplayers that sings a lot and asked if they’d be willing to do a video so we can send it to the residents. And the other kids that don’t have those gifts, can we send words of encouragement.”

Soon, they began sending her videos and creating cards in their homes.

“We have two…nursing homes we’re going to try and deliver to,” Smith said. “Each of them has 50 residents, so if we can create 150 cards to hand out and a couple of videos in there.”

While the coronavirus outbreak has thrown the Miners’ season a curveball, the athletes and students are sending uplifting notes and videos to nursing homes in Macoupin and Madison counties.

“We just also want to do something as a team, that’s always important to rely on each other during times like this,” Smith said. “So, since we can’t be together, we normally spend lots of hours together during this time of year and we can’t do that. So, just trying to keep them in the team mindset and doing things together is also important I think.”