Everyday Heroes

It's Not All About Me: Players' And Coaches' Message In Times Of Trouble

Two college baseball teams demonstrate how we can still make a difference and think of others, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

It was a game that was meaningless when it came to rankings, with a final score that didn't matter in the long run. But a game played in Florida on Friday -- and the players in it -- demonstrated how even bad times can be better when we think about others before ourselves.

For seniors on the Baldwin Wallace University (OH) Yellow Jackets and the Susquehanna University (PA) Riverhawks baseball teams, this match up represented the last game most would play, in a sport they'd pursued since they were barely tall enough to hit a ball off a tee.

For BW Seniors Alex Ludwick (#11) and Brandon Dim (#20), this might have been their last baseball at bat.

As boys, the team members probably imagined this season would be the pinnacle of their athletic careers. As young men, they now realize there's a bigger picture, even in one game.

While each man could have thought only of his final at bat, final pitch, final play, each was thinking of the other, especially the seniors. Coaches and players on both teams agreed: underclassmen would sit the bench. Seniors, starters or not, deserved to play one last game.

BW Coach Brian Harrison expected nothing less from his team, and had some great wisdom for all of us as we learn to live with life's challenges, now and in the future.

Susuqehanna and Baldwin Wallace were among dozens of college teams who participated in the Snowbird Baseball Classic in Port Charlotte, FL, last week.

The week started with dreams of conference championships and ended with both teams, like most spring sport college teams across the country accepting the fact that their seasons were over, cut short because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Parents were as crushed as the kids to find out the season was over.

Senior moms were sad but philosophical. Laura Dim, Debbie Smith, Christine Adams, Melody Berg, Kim King, Alison Aukerman.

"I think they would have become something special," said a tearful Kim King about the BW team. Her son, senior Jacob Bonner, was the Yellow Jacket's starting first baseman. "Some senior starters said they would sit so others who don't play as often could get in," said King.

Underclassmen were on board too. "Colin [Caven] and I were both ready to tell coach we wouldn't play, that [senior] Jake [Smith] needed to start," said BW sophomore catcher JT Mazula.

Susquehanna players on base. Coaches made sure seniors on both teams got in the game.

As it turns out both teams made sure every senior would have the chance to take the field one more time.

Susquehanna coach Denny Bowers planned out his lineups the moment he heard that the season was cancelled, scheduling all of his senior pitchers to start the team's last four games in Florida. "They've worked hard and they needed to be rewarded," said Bowers. Riverhawks senior position players also got in the team's final games.

BW senior Mike Hubert got a chance to demonstrate his unique wind up one more time.Randy Raines

Kim Roumes, whose son Craig is a Susquehanna senior, summed it up. "Honestly you've got to look at the bigger picture," she said as she snapped away with her camera, trying to get shots of each player with less time to spare than she had anticipated at the beginning of the week. "As much as I feel saddened by this, our group has a cameraderie that they'll never forget." Kim King agreed: "They are players who did anything for each other."

Including making sure the other guy got the last at bat.

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