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INA, Ill. (April 20, 2018) - It's a story to tug on the heart strings and a sterling example of the power of friendship and the bond between teammates. 

Rend Lake College freshman pitcher Olivia Loudermilk (Albion) has been a key player for this year's Softball Lady Warriors, and was just as excited as the rest of her team to make the annual trip to South Carolina over Spring Break to participate in an early-season softball tournament. After a almost a week of softball and bonding with the team, the squad packed up and started the long drive home.

Unfortunately for Loudermilk, that's when tragedy struck. The freshman hurler and just received a new puppy prior to the team's trip. And, in a tragic turn of events, the pup got loose and was struck and killed by a car. RLC Softball Coach Dave Ellingsworth said Loudermilk was devastated, and the entire team felt her pain. 

Thankfully, the story doesn't end there. In a display of amazing thoughtfulness, Loudermilk's teammates banded together in an awesome display of kindness. Together, the all chipped in to find their heartbroken teammate a new best friend, surprising Loudermilk with a new puppy at a recent practice. 

"You just don't see stuff like that enough," said Ellingsworth. "This shows you what it's all about. It's not wins or losses. It's about these young women coming together. It was really incredible."

SoftballPuppy2WRLC freshman pitcher Olivia Loudermilk couldn't hide her smile if she had tried, showing off the new puppy her teammates banded together to get for her. 

SoftballPuppyWThe Rend Lake College Softball team poses with their teammate Olivia Loudermilk. The team came together to get Loudermilk a new puppy after hers tragically died.