Seniors Carson Scott and Kai Warren have unfinished business on the diamond.
Scott, a Crawfordsville senior, who wants a chance to send Athenian baseball coach John Froedge into retirement on a high note, and Warren, a North Montgomery senior, who wants to cement his legacy as one of the top baseball players in Charger program history.
The pair were expected to lead their respective teams this season, and along with Southmont’s Reese Long, be front runners for Baseball Player of the Year honors.
“My heart was breaking for Coach Froedge because this was his last season before retirement,” Scott said. “It was also breaking for my parents who have worked so hard to help me get to this point in my career that they might not get a chance to see me play again. There was also some disappointment because me and my other senior players were ready to lead this 2020 Athenian team and chase some school records held by some of the greats such as Trent Johnson, Matt McCarty, and Brett Motz.”
Warren has already announced that he will continue both his football and baseball careers at Wabash College starting next fall, and while he helped the Chargers to their first winning season since 2016 on the gridiron last fall, the taste of a baseball sectional title in 2018 and a .386 batting average last spring has him hungry for more.
“It stinks working your whole high school career to finally be a senior and on top, then having it nearly stripped away, puts a huge hole in my heart,” he said. “I do feel like I have some unfinished business. It has been a lifelong dream to cement myself into the North Montgomery record books in football and baseball, and only getting halfway there makes the thought of not playing hurt a little more.”
Scott, who has hit over .300 in each of his first three seasons of varsity baseball, has shined for the Athenians on both the gridiron and basketball court during his senior season. He wants one more chance to end his high school playing career by giving the Athenians their first baseball sectional title since 2013.
“Being a three sport athlete I’m use to one season ending and diving right into the next without any break,” he said. “My first initial feeling, with school getting shut down and baseball being postponed, was heartbreak. It first was negative thoughts such as thinking this was my last chance to taste a sectional championship. Slowly it has changed to a positive thought just thinking back over all the guys I’ve played with and memories we have made with one another on and off the courts or field.”
Long, who helped the Mounties to their first tennis sectional title last fall since 1991, is taking a more positive and lighter approach to the situation.
“I know that this whole Covid-19 stuff is putting everyone’s plans and expectations in jeopardy,” he said. “but I choose to look at the bright side of it all. I think that this will be a great story to tell my kids and grandkids someday. Everyone that has ever played high school sports has had a senior season, but we are the first to not. This situation has never happened to anyone, so I think that it is cool that this is happening to me. It makes life more exciting than just having the same thing happen year after year. Yes the fact that I may never play high school baseball again sucks, but I am choosing not to dwell on it.”
Southmont senior Bailey Thompson, who will continue her golf career at St. Mary of-the-Woods College next fall says she is using this time to rest and remember not to take anything for granted.
“Being a three-sport athlete, it is very unusual to have a long break like this. Although I am bummed out about not being on the field and in the classroom with my friends, I am grateful for this time of rest. This has taught me to take nothing for granted and has reminded me of who is in control,” she said.
“Playing golf this fall at St Mary’s doesn’t make possibly not having a softball season any easier. Southmont is my home. I’ve been playing with these girls since kindergarten and the thought of not having a senior night with my best friends breaks my heart.”
Thompson’s twin sister Hannah says it still hasn’t hit her that she may never get another opportunity to compete as an athlete again.
“Along with all the other seniors, my emotions have been filled with sadness and disappointment due the suspension of our spring seasons,” she said. “I don’t think it’s truly hit me that I may never play another softball game again, until I think of everything I should be doing in this moment. I should be walking the hallways, sitting in math class, and most importantly plying a game of softball with my best friends. What disappointments me most is that I have no control over the situation and I have to stay strong through it all knowing I may never get to step on the field again. I know that God has a plan for our lives and us seniors will get through this together.”
North Montgomery senior Avery Stevens, who will get a chance to play soccer at Manchester next fall, is grateful for the Charger athletic department continuing to promote staying in shape during the layoff of sports.
“Each morning since this has hit the fan, our coaches send each athlete a text with a workout and motivational message for the day,” he said. “Each group has specific workouts. It has become a competition of some variety between North faculty and student-athletes to see who gets the most work in. Coach Thompson (North Montgomery track and field coach) is also very good at recognizing hard-work, and certainly motivates myself, along with other athletes to really push ourselves while reiterating that we will get through this and will come back with an edge.”
Isaac Northcutt, another Charger senior, is bummed that his chance to enjoy a baseball season with his fellow classmates is dwindling.
“It’s hitting hard,” he said. “I would have never pictured my senior season to start like this. We’ve been preparing all winter long and putting in the work just for it to be put on hold. This senior class is something special and I was looking forward to stepping on the field with them one last time. The game of baseball teaches you a lot of things, and the most important one is play for each other, not yourself.”
The state of Indiana has suspended school through at least May 1, which puts spring sports in doubt. However, the IHSAA continues to believe they will be able to conduct some type of state tournament for each spring sport.
Underclassmen have also chimed in on their thoughts surrounding the unprecedented situation.
“I was entering my junior season of golf at Fountain Central and I was really excited to get started,” Jacob Keeling said. “I felt like we had a good group of people on the team. To us it’s important to have fun and it’s important to be great teammates. When I heard that this virus might mess up our season, I was disappointed. I was excited to compete and now that’s not going to happen. I look at this as an opportunity to slow down and stay positive in a time that it’s hard to stay positive. I want to encourage people to still workout and continue to get better in their sport and most importantly stay healthy.”
Southmont sophomore Trent Jones is on track to break Mountie sprint records, and is doing his best to stay in shape while he waits.
“I run track and it’s my passion and main sport,” Jones, who also plays football and swims for the Mounties, said. “Right now with everything going on I’m upset that it’s affecting my track season. I was on track to break a school record this year. I’m handling it by hoping for the best, eating right, and running when I can.”
North Montgomery junior Cooper Bowman is encouraged by the positivity within the Charger athletic community.
“To see all these other athletes putting in work at home or finding alternatives to get work in is insane,” he said. “We don’t normally get this amount of work in the offseason I believe, and for most, including myself, it has not really hit that we might not see the return of our respective sports. All good spirits and momentum circulating our community is awesome right now.”
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