EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Her first year of high school softball is a big hit.
That’s because East Peoria sophomore Gracie Luna continues to provide big hits for the Raiders.
“I never thought I’d have the season I’m having,” Luna said. “It’s great for the team to have a great season. All of us are coming together great.”
Luna is a natural catcher but this year she’s playing shortstop as all-conference junior Bri Despines handles the duties behind the plate.
Last year’s canceled season prevented Luna from playing with good friend and former EP all-state star Monique Hoosen, who just finished her freshman season at Butler University. This year, she grabbed Hoosen’s former uniform and is proudly wearing number 7.
“I talk to her all the time about it,” Luna said. “She’s a great role model to look up to, talk to. It’s great carrying on her number. She tells me all the time I’m doing great. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Luna is certainly making a big impact in her first year of high school softball at East Peoria. She’s also making an impression on her coach.
“I’ve been hit twice in my coaching career, both times by Gracie Luna,” said a laughing East Peoria head coach Denee Menzione.
Menzione said the first time happened when Luna hit her with a batted ball during a drill when she was on a 10U team. The second time happened earlier this season with Menzione coaching from the third base box.
“I hit her at the Dunlap game and I left a big bruise on her leg,” Luna said with a smile. “She stands in the outfield when I’m up to bat.”
“It left a mark. I played it well, like it didn’t sting. But that ball hurt so bad,” Menzione said.
Luna is making a great first impression. And leaving a mark on her coach and on East Peoria’s opponents.