FREDERICKTOWN – Senior softball player Kahea VanHouten and senior baseball player Korbin McGregor are more concerned with the health and well-being of those around them than they are about playing the respective sports one more time.
“It’s hard, but I know that it’s better right now,” VanHouten said. “Our loved ones need to be safer. So, it’s obvious that … we need to be quarantining right now. But it’s really disappointing because it’s my senior year and I would like to be with my friends.”
Spring sports have been postponed and it’s looking less and less likely the season will happen after Governor Mike DeWine extended the lockdown of schools through May 1. If students go back May 2, there’d be about a week of regular season before the tournament was supposed to start according to the original calendar posted by the OHSAA.
“I think it’s crazy because nothing like this has ever happened,” McGregor said. “As hard as it is to not be playing baseball right now … it’s for the better. We’re trying to get everyone healthy and safe. At the end of the day, baseball is just a game and this (effects) everyone’s lives.”
Senior runner Elijah Halterman didn’t think he would miss school as much as he has.
“I honestly kind of miss it,” he said sheepishly. He almost didn’t want to admit that he likes going to school.
“I was like, ‘Wow – thank goodness we have a break,’” Halterman said. “But now it’s like two weeks in and here I am at home not being able to go out and hang out with friends.
“It’s kind of hard. Not having a daily routine of waking up and going to school, seeing friends and teacher is really different. I had a harder time adjusting to it than I thought I would. I definitely miss my teachers and my classmates. I miss the comraderie with my friends.”
VanHouten has kept up with softball just in case her and her teammates do get to play this season.
“I have been throwing with my parents,” VanHouten said. “My dad (Eric) has been my coach my entire life. He’s coached me for the past 14 years. So, we’ll go outside and throw. He’ll help me with my batting and working on specifics. I’m a first baseman, so we’ll work on stuff like scooping. He’s been working with me on helping me level my swing better.”
Sports have been a big part of VanHouten’s relationship with her dad.
“He’s taught me how to play softball and basketball,” VanHouten said. “That’s how we connect and that’s what made us so close. Since I’ve grown older, we’re really become closer. He really helps me understand things and critique myself and stuff like that.”
McGregor is new to the baseball team. He was at Clear Fork the last two years. He’s also the lone senior on the Freddies’ squad.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity to represent Fredericktown and be a part of the team,” he said.
There’s also a lot of players on the team that played basketball. So, just as McGregor was getting acclimated with his teammates, the spring season was postponed.
“It was just nice to get to know everybody and connect with these people,” McGregor said. “(The pandemic has) effected my bond with the team because we were starting to build trust.”
Halterman said there really hasn’t been a change for him in terms of athletics.
“I think – as a runner – it’s not affecting me that much,” Halterman said. “I can still go out and still workout. With running, I don’t need a field or any equipment to still do it, which is kind of nice.”
The Fredericktown athletic department has featured a daily senior spotlight on the school’s Facebook page.
“We wrote down a few things like what we’re doing after high school and our favorite moment,” she said. “I thought that was cool that (athletic director Nathan Bellman) was doing that. Some other schools have done it too.”
It’s a social media version of a senior night.