Atlanta Braves host tornado-damaged Newnan High School on senior night

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves made senior night extra special for the Newnan High School baseball team.

Last month, an EF-4 tornado ravaged the school and tore up the field.

Braves pitcher Will Smith, a Newnan native, wanted to help.

“When he saw the tornado hit, he reached out to our community department right away,” said Danielle Bedasse, director of community affairs and executive director of the Atlanta Braves Foundation. “He said, ‘How can I help? What are you guys doing? What’s the plan?’”

Smith spearheaded an online auction, and the money went directly to disaster relief in his hometown.

On Wednesday, the Braves hosted a regional game between Newnan High School and Pebblebrook High School.

It was senior night for Newnan.

“You can’t describe it. Words can’t explain how special this,” Newnan senior Michael Maginnis said. “Being a die-hard Braves fan my whole life, I’ve always dreamed of being on this field and getting to come out here and play is so amazing.”

Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose asked Newnan coach Marc Gilmore what he told his team before the first pitch.

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“Enjoy life. Enjoy moments. Put this one at the top of your list because this is special,” said Gilmore.

Gilmore told Jose the game is a defining moment for the team, his seniors, and the community.

Newnan senior Jett Lovett agreed.

“I’ll never forget it, having your senior night here at Braves stadium. It’s something you’ll never forget,” said Lovett.

For Maginnis, he wants the game at Truist Park to inspire Newnan.

“We can go play baseball and keep pushing through this tragedy, and give the community something to be excited about, something to hope for,” Maginnis said. “We just hope that we can be a shining light and a glimpse of hope for the community through such a dark time.”