'Sister Act' plays to receptive audience at NCCU
There was no popcorn for Florida A&M when the Rattlers watched what might be described N.C. Central’s version of “Sister Act.”
FAMU and NCCU were tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning at Parkwood Athletic Field on Friday.
NCCU senior London Germ was on second base representing the winning run, and her little sister, Emerie, was at the plate with two outs.
FAMU pitcher Kenya Pereira hurled one toward Emerie, who sent a steaming shot down the right-field line, allowing her big sister to come home for a 3-2 NCCU win.
“That’s how it works with them,” NCCU coach Theresa Stephens said about the sisters. “They feed off of each other’s energy.”
The Germ sisters, from Georgia, have been playing together since they were itty-bitty girls.
London said she was a 5-year-old on a softball team that was missing a player one day. Emerie was there at the diamond but off to the side in a dress, just goofing around.
“My coach said, ‘Put a jersey on her,’” London said. “So she just started playing with me since then.”
Their time as teammates is coming to an end. London is a senior. Emerie, a junior, plans to return for one more season at NCCU.
“It’s definitely going to be different, because I’ve never played ball without her,” Emerie said.
The Eagles could stretch out the sister act by putting together some wins during NCCU’s remaining regular-season games, the last two on the road against archival N.C. A&T on May 3-4. With some help from other teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, NCCU could move out of last place in the league’s Southern Division and finish among the four top teams in the conference, qualifying for the MEAC Tournament from May 8-10 in Ormond Beach, Fla.
NCCU (7-31, 3-8 MEAC) is not having a great season by any means, although the Eagles have outdone the five wins they managed a year ago.
“We’re just going to keep fighting until the end,” London said. “If we go down, we’re going to take somebody down with us.
“It’s been rocky and rough, but playing with Coach Stephens — I wouldn’t change a thing.”
London said she was at a junior college in Florida before coming to NCCU.
Emerie ended up playing softball at Georgia Southern but wasn’t happy there, said London, who told her sister what NCCU had to offer.
The Germs are white students on a historically black campus, and Emerie said diversity like that is what she’s all about. Emerie, a theater major, said NCCU has exposed her to different types of music, different types of theatrical productions.
Plus, softball at Georgia Southern was too much of a grind, Emerie said.
“Coming from another (NCAA Division I program), it was so serious. And yes, this is serious, but we know how to balance,” Emerie said. “We know how to have fun, but we know everyone is putting their heart and soul into it. You don’t get that at many programs. You don’t get the closeness and the closeness of the coaches.”
NCCU softball also is close in terms of competing, London said.
“This team will win a MEAC championship. It’s just going to take time,” London said.
It won’t be long, Stephens said.
“Man, I feel like we’re right there, and this team has the tools to do it,” Stephens said. “When they start putting those applications together and make it work, I think they’re really going to surprise themselves.”
The addition of assistant coach Vashion Johnson is bolstering NCCU’s offense, Emerie said. NCCU just needs to keep adding talent to the roster, she said.
London’s upcoming departure means NCCU will lose a leader who is equally aggressive at practices and games, Stephens said.
“She plays how she practices,” Stephens said.
Stephens said she looks forward to Emerie returning to next season’s lineup with that big bat of hers.
“It’s been huge for us this year,” Stephens said.
London is NCCU’s leadoff batter, and Emerie has been productive in the cleanup spot.
Emerie said London is the better hitter between them, possessing more speed to reach base by laying down bunts. Emerie said she swings for the fence.
But London tipped her batting helmet to her little sister, saying Emerie is carrying a bigger stick.
“Stats don’t lie,” London said.