SPARTANBURG — Danny Gault has won his fair share of battles on the softball field — 200 to be exact — but now the opponent he faces is truly lethal and the situation is literally life-or-death.
Prior to the 2013 softball season, I interviewed former Union County Head Softball Coach Danny Gault for an article that would outline what most expected to be a re-building year. The Lady Jackets had been a powerhouse for the past few years but replacing six starters who’d been lost to graduation would be a tall order…At least it appeared to be.
I asked Coach Gault for his thoughts on the matter, “So, these two freshmen pitchers you’ve got coming in, they’ll probably need a couple years to really develop, right? And what about the offense — You’ve lost some big sticks from the batting order…How are you going to remedy that?”
Gault smiled as he hedged that his team was very likely being under-estimated.
“We should be alright,” he said as the hint of a smirk played around his lips. “I think we’ll make the playoffs easily and if we get a couple of wins where we might not be expected to, we could make some noise.”
When the season began and Gault’s team slipped a couple of notches in the polls, he shared with me that he actually preferred the lower ranking. It allowed his Jackets to “fly under the radar.”
The young Union County team went on to win the District Championship and then give Daniel a run for its money in the upperstate tournament before falling 5-3 to the eventual 3A State Champions.
As the Lady Jackets entered into the post season, Gault was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Spartanburg Regional Hospital due to heart and kidney complications.
Even as his health declined, I’m told that Gault’s primary concern was of the softball team and how it was faring in the playoffs.
For the past six weeks, he has been on and off a ventilator and in and out of ICU. On Saturday, Gault’s condition took a turn for the worse when he suffered a series of two or more heart attacks that prompted a code red. After three shocks from the defibrillator, he was revived.
Mike and Donna Massey, friends of Gault and his wife, Sharon, said that the situation remains “touch and go” and added that the dialysis treatments Gault was receiving for his non-functioning kidneys had to be postponed for the time being. The Masseys also relayed that Gault had been silent since escaping death’s clutches on Saturday. Then on Tuesday, in what must have been music to his wife’s ears, Gault called out her name.
Sharon, who is a speech pathologist at Buffalo Elementary School, has requested prayer for her husband as well as for herself and their son, Ian, a 2010 UCHS graduate who attends Lander University.
Neither Danny Gault nor his family could have prepared for the tumultuous battle that they’ve found themselves in. But strength is often found in the face of adversity, and a fighter always has a chance.
*Please remember Danny Gault as well as Sharon and Ian in your prayers.*