There's Another Gerhart in Town

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Teagan Gerhart is not stuck in her older brother's shadow anymore.

    The Stanford softball program has an ace.

    Already this season she's thrown a perfect game, three no-hitters in a row, and 41 straight scoreless innings.

    "It's remarkable at any level," said Stanford softball coach John Rittman.  "But at this level it's pretty remarkable."

    Her name is Teagan Gerhart.  Yes, that Gerhart.

    "I've always been Toby's little sister," Teagan said of her older brother, Stanford's Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart.  "Our last name always follows us."

    But so far in her freshman campaign Teagan is making her own name, with her own unique story.  The pitcher is a triplet, and is joined on the Stanford team by one of those sisters, Kelsey.  The third triplet, Whitley, plays softball for Cal Poly.

    "We're all best friends and tell each other everything," Kelsey said recently during a break from catching a bullpen session for one of her teammates.

    But that's only the beginning.  Teagan has overcome adversity after adversity since she came into the world 19 years ago.  The triplets were born five weeks premature, leaving Teagan with serious health issues.

    "I've gone through 17 surgeries," she said.  "I guess they made me better in a way."

    Teagan was born before the roof of her mouth had formed, as well as the bones in her inner ear.  In addition she had a birthmark, which looked like a large mole, covering one-third of her face.

    "It was hard as a child because I was always the outcast of all the kids," Teagan admitted.  "Kelsey came home perfect, but I was still in the hospital."

    When she was 12, Teagan had one surgery left to further remove her birthmark.  The surgery, however, would keep her out of school and off the softball field for six months.  The night before the operation Teagan decided enough was enough.

    "I was tired of surgeries and accepted I will always have my birthmark," she said.  "I didn't want to get out of school and sports.  I thought it was time to stop."

    Her family supported the decision.

    "Experiences shape people and that definitely shaped her into a better person," Kelsey said.

    The freshman already has many accomplishments on her resume, but the best may be yet to come.  According to her coaches, Teagan has the potential to be one of the top softball pitchers the Cardinal has ever seen.

    "I know her four years will fly by," Rittman said.  "You just have to try to enjoy every minute you have on the field with an athlete like that."

    And Rittman isn't the only one enjoying the ride.  Until his NFL career begins Toby is, too.  The proud older brother has already bought both of his sisters' Stanford jerseys and wears them to all the games, alternating one every inning.

    "He says he's going to be our No. 1 fan," the star pitcher said.

    And with Teagan, there's certainly plenty to cheer about.