Ben Georgia Heathcock

Siblings Ben and Georgia Heathcock played catcher for their respective teams at Little Elm this spring.

Andrea and Jesse Heathcock have always given their three children ample opportunities to try any sport. The only rule was: Once they committed to something, they had to give 110% and couldn’t stop until the season was over.

When Ben and Georgia were younger, they played multiple sports. Georgia played softball and basketball starting at an early age, and picked up volleyball in middle school. She played hoops until the eighth grade and was on the Little Elm varsity volleyball team during her freshman and sophomore seasons before focusing on softball. Ben played baseball, basketball, soccer and football until he got to high school, when he decided to focus on baseball.

Jillian, the youngest of the three Heathcock siblings, also played multiple sports, but settled into theatre and music as her primary interests.

With Jillian now focusing on the arts, the only two sports that Andrea and Jesse have to worry about watching live when it comes to their children are baseball and softball.

Like everyone else in their situation, Jesse would be in attendance for one game while Andrea was at the other sibling’s game. That’s only if Ben and Georgia played at different venues that day.

While at the games, Andrea and Jesse would both be watching the play-by-play feed of the other game on the GameChanger app. They constantly sent text messages to each other throughout the ballgame, asking for details that GameChanger wouldn’t display.

“This summer will be the biggest challenge as they are both traveling across the country,” Jesse said. “With Georgia heading to college it will settle down a bit, but Jillian will be in the LEHS band this fall and we will be back to coordinating her schedule with Ben’s.”

But the time that Andrea and Jesse got to watch Ben and Georgia play this year are memories that they will cherish for a long time.

This year marked the first time that both Ben and Georgia played varsity baseball and softball in the same season. Georgia, who just completed her senior season, was a four-year varsity player. Ben, who just completed his sophomore season, split playing time between varsity and junior varsity his freshman season before becoming a full-time varsity player this year.

And both Ben and Georgia played the same position: catcher. That had people asking Georgia a few questions about their family bloodline.

“I had a couple of friends ask me, 'Does catching run in your family?' I said, 'No,’” Georgia said. “But we didn't realize it until people started pointing it out.”

Georgia came into her freshman year having not played catcher since she was 12 years old. But the Little Elm coaching staff decided that it would be better for Georgia to play catcher and for Izzi Fielder, a 2019 graduate of Little Elm, to move back to her natural position of third base.

"It was interesting at first,” Georgia said. “There were some growing pains, but I ended up really enjoying my playing time behind the plate again."

What made her freshman season (2019) more enjoyable was the team’s ride to the regional finals. Led by current Wichita State sophomore Lauren Lucas, Little Elm won 30 games before bowing out to The Colony in the fifth round of the playoffs.

"Lauren was awesome,” Georgia said. “Lauren was a great role model as I was going through my underclassman years of high school. I feel like my transition back to catcher wouldn't have been easy without her."

Ben, meanwhile, spent his freshman season learning behind then-starting catcher Luis Cruz. Ben tried out playing catcher as early as 8 years old for his club team, Frozen Ropes, and said that he “liked it more than all of the other positions.”

“My freshman year, I learned a lot from our senior catcher (Cruz) and how it goes on varsity,” Ben said. “I think that helped me a lot this, just knowing what to do. He was a really good hitter and he was really good about throwing out runners, and I knew that I had to do better about throwing out runners on varsity.”

Signs of Ben’s improvement in throwing out base runners came during a game against Allen. The Eagles attempted a delayed steal, all while having runners at first and third with two outs. But Ben used a fake pump towards second base, and then tagged out the other Allen runner at third base in a rundown.

“That was probably the highlight of my season, because it was really a big moment in the game,” he said.

Little Elm’s biggest win of the season was a 4-3 win over Denton Guyer on April 22. Ben hit a single that preceded an RBI fielder’s choice that allowed the Lobos to take a two-run advantage.

It was the first of three straight district wins to close out the regular season for Little Elm, which forced a one-game playoff between the Lobos and McKinney Boyd for the final playoff berth in District 5-6A. The Lobos led by two runs going into the bottom of the seventh, but the Broncos rallied with three runs to earn a 6-5 win.

“It was a slow start to the season for me, especially hitting-wise,” Ben said. “But definitely toward the end, I settled in and it became kind of more natural."

The Lady Lobos, meanwhile, edged McKinney 2-1 in the final game of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2019. In a one-game bi-district playoff against 6-6A champion Hebron, Little Elm jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Lady Hawks rallied for a 9-7 win.

Georgia was a big reason why Little Elm was a playoff team, and much of it was due to a huge turnaround at the plate. One year ago, she hit .241. This year, she raised her batting average to .480.

 "I think the biggest difference between this season and last season is that I stopped pressing to try and make something happen and let it happen,” she said. “I finally started putting trust in all of the work that I have done outside of practice, and it really started working for me."

April 1 proved to be one of the most special nights for the Heathcock family watching Ben and Georgia play sports. Little Elm’s baseball team hosted Allen that night, while the softball team played Prosper.

Before the start of Little Elm’s softball game, Andrea and Jesse were on the field. Little Elm honored Georgia, a University of California at San Diego signee, during senior-night festivities.

“The softball and the baseball coaches worked with us to plan Georgia’s senior night on the last night they were both in town,” Jesse said. “Ben was allowed to leave warm-ups for his game vs. Allen so he could be there for her ceremony. Having the entire family at her senior night meant a lot to us.” 

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