OHIO, USA — With spring sports cancelled and postponed, many high school seniors are missing out on getting to play that final game. However, that’s not the case for all of them.
“It’s great to be out here and play with everyone again,” says Carson Heidecker, a senior at Columbia Station.
Although these games are not exactly the same as the season missed, that doesn’t necessarily make it any less special.
“It’s just great to play with all of these guys one more time,” says Avon Lake senior, Ryan Shinko. “We all love the game of baseball and when I texted everybody and said we had a chance to play one more time, they were all in. They all wanted to have this last game to say goodbye to each other.”
These seniors came together from over a dozen different high schools in the area to play the game of baseball at Crushers Stadium. There’s no awards and no trophies. In fact, the score doesn’t really matter all that much. They’re all doing it to take the field with their classmates, one last time.
“That senior moment is always important and it just broke my heart to see the kids not being able to get to play this year,” says Ken Wilson, the man who helped to organize the event. “This is about the memories, this is about the experience. That’s what I wanted, but more importantly, that’s what these kids wanted and obviously deserve.”
Elyria senior, Michael Knapp says, “Getting to play with all the kids I’ve grown up with, obviously, and now playing with a bunch of kids that I’ve never played with that are pretty cool.”
For most of them, taking the field to play at the Crushers Stadium was the first and last game of their season before heading off to college, getting a job and leaving high school baseball as just a past memory.
“I’ll probably be one of the more emotional ones, but it’s also because I’ve become so close to them over these three years,” says Shinko.
“It’s great to play with my teammates again because it’s like our last hurrah,” says Heidecker. “It’s just our last thing that we’re ever going to do together.”
It was a sandlot feel, where the love of the game was really all that mattered. It wasn’t exactly the same, but that didn’t make it any less special.
Wilson says, “In baseball, no matter what you do it’s always about the memory and they’re going to remember this for the rest of their life.”
“It’s good to say goodbye to everybody,” says Shinko. “It’s a nice way to say goodbye.”