COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Carver High School Tigers returned to their home field for the first time since they lost their leader Coach David Pollard earlier this week.
Fans from Carver High School, along with players and parents from other area schools, filled the seats to cheer on the Tigers.
Coming off their first game back after losing Coach Pollard - a 10-0 loss to Shaw High - the Tigers were excited to take their home field and put on a show for the crowd.
From now on the team, along with the student body, will meet for baseball games at David Pollard Field - renamed in the coach's honor before the game.
Faculty and students like Tasia Collier still haven't been able to grasp the sudden loss of their beloved teacher.
"I cried, and I couldn't tell anybody else what happened," Collier said. "All I could do was cry, and I couldn't believe it - and it didn't register until about two days later."
Until this match up against the Shaw Raiders, the Tigers haven't won a region game all season.
That streak ended Friday afternoon, as Carver beat Shaw 5-2.
Carver third baseman Demarcus Beacham said this victory is just the way the team wanted to honor their leader.
"Each and every week, asked for a region win," Beacham said. "This is all he ever asked for."
After the game, Pollard's parents, wife, siblings and young daughter walked onto the field, receiving hugs and words of encouragement from students and staff.
Carver, Shaw and several Columbus high school teams then gathered for a prayer, leading to the candlelight vigil in remembrance of all the things Coach Pollard contributed to the school.
The team said they relished the moment, and are thankful for having the opportunity to make their coach proud by winning and going forward in life.
"They gave our guys a big stage to step up on," Carver baseball coach Andy Hicks said. "We gave everybody a ball game; probably the best game we played all year."
The Tigers say they want to take the momentum from Friday's win into their next game against LaGrange High School on Saturday.
The players believe the coach's dedication and hard work will inspire future generations of Carver High ballplayers.
The funeral for Coach Pollard will take place Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m. at Cascade Hills Church on 54th Street in Columbus.