MOUNT VERNON — For a couple of hours at Mount Vernon Tuesday night, baseball was played. The Mount Vernon baseball team held the first of what will be weekly intrasquad scrimmages.
Shortstop Marcus Bradley made a Brandon Phillips-esque scoop behind the back to get a force out at second at one point.
It was an escape from protests and coronavirus, the latter of which shut down the 2020 season. A time to forget about serious issues of the world and have fun. That’s what sports are supposed to provide.
“It was fantastic,” senior to-be Ethan Laslo said. “Just being out here with all the guys again, especially (after) not being sure if we were going to be able to play at all. It was great. All my buddies are here. It was a good two and a half hours to just hang out and have a good time.”
The scrimmage was also about working toward 2021. But it also gave parents an opportunity to see their kids play, even if it was in a game that won’t count in the standings. The stands behind home plate were mostly empty as people spaced out along the fence in small familial groups.
The Yellow Jackets missed out on an entire season. There was no Senior Night or bid for an Ohio Cardinal Conference championship or deep tournament run. Tuesday night, there were no 2020 seniors, a reminder of the cost of COVID-19.
“Me being a teacher and a father and a husband — one thing I pride myself on is being a coach,” MV coach Nate Hunt said. “It’s good to be back in that role and see the guys and have fun with them. Just be around the game. The coaching staff and I — even though the season hasn’t been what it (usually) is.
“About five or six hours a week, we were (here at) the field working on it, just trying to get it ready (for next year). We had a great turnout of people. They got to see what we’re trying to build, not just field-wise, but as a program.”
Normally, coaches get 10 days to work with teams over the summer. This summer, there is no limit. So, for two days a week, Mount Vernon will be playing baseball together.
“I talked with my coaches and we (decided) that Monday would be a practice day,” Hunt said. “Monday’s kind of your ticket. If you show up Monday, you can play in the game (on Tuesday).”
There were also no pitchers, for now. A machine took care of that. Without a pitching program, the coaches didn’t want to risk an arm injury.
“Some of these guys haven’t done anything,” Hunt said. “It’s good to see them out, get going (and) be around other guys.
“I told them, no one’s going to win a spot in spring, but it definitely opens up some eyes. Sophomores that I’ve never seen before and juniors that I’ve never seen play, now I get a good opportunity to see them and it’s been great.”
The teams were mixed between varsity and junior varsity. The Orange team beat the Black team 4-1, not that it really mattered. It was an escape.
There was baseball played. And for two days a week over the next couple of months, Mount Vernon will get to be a team on a field.
Hunt couldn’t help but smile at that prospect.
“It’s fun,” he said. “It’s good to see guys compete.”
The rest of this article is available to our subscribers.
Do your part to support local journalism
Subscribe to our e-edition to read this and many other articles written by your neighbors.