Turtle power: Navarro’s hard-shelled companion has been a source of good luck
Navarro knows the meaning of Rally time.
It’s not because of a succession of come-from-behind victories over the course of the season. It’s because of a Texas pond turtle named Rally, a hard-shelled pet the Navarro (Texas) College baseball found and adopted near the end of the regular season.
Rally, as it turns out, has been with the Bulldogs since their doubleheader victory April 28 against Texarkana College. Navarro has no immediate plans to find another home for him, thanks to the hot streak the Bulldogs have gone on since he’s been around.
“I’m a proud father now,” sophomore second baseman Christian Stringer said. “We haven’t lost since Rally has been in the dugout with us.”
Rally has been with Navarro for 11 of the past 12 games, including all four victories in the Region XVI tournament and a pair of doubleheader sweeps of Texarkana and Paris Junior College. The only game the Bulldogs lost in that time span was a 4-3 to San Jacinto College-North on May 4, the only game Rally missed.
And yes, Rally made the trip north to Grand Junction with the Bulldogs.
Rally roamed in his aquarium in the third-base dugout Monday as Navarro won its sixth straight game, 9-1 over defending JUCO World Series champion Iowa Western.
“I won’t touch the thing,” Navarro coach Woah Dill said. “They even kiss it. But if that helps them, I won’t stand in the way.”
Finding Rally was a complete accident, but it came at a perfect time for the Bulldogs. Navarro, which sat in third place in the league standings before playing Texarkana, needed a sweep to keep its postseason hopes alive. That’s when Stringer noticed Rally crawling around the edge of the infield dirt. He scooped him up and took him to the dugout.
The players found a water dish and some grass for their new companion, who stuck around to watch the Bulldogs sweep the doubleheader. The team left Rally in the dugout and, when the Bulldogs came back the next day, he was still there.
Stringer promptly went out and bought a “travel aquarium” for Rally, with red and white rock to mirror the team’s colors. Rally travels on the team bus and to all the team’s outings. He has another aquarium at Stringer’s home.
The Bulldogs kept winning with their new companion in tow, including a 10-3 win against Alvin Community College in the Region XVI title game. Rally’s portrait is on the team’s championship T-shirt.
“You always figure the ball will bounce your way most of the time,” said sophomore team manager Christian Seth as he watched Rally get his daily exercise in the grass during the Bulldogs’ practice Sunday. “Ever since we had him, the ball has bounced our way all the time.”
Dill said after the season, Rally will be donated to Bowie Elementary School in the Bulldogs’ home town of Corsicana, Texas, where Dill’s wife teaches. There Rally will live with three other turtles in a pond next to the school.
That, however, doesn’t mean the Bulldogs will forget he’s there.
“That’ll be his offseason home,” Dill said.