To the Editor:
The 2014 baseball season is over for the Cannon County High School Lions. This was supposed to be “their year.”
This young team had on its roster many players from two state winning teams when these boys were playing Minor and Major League Baseball in youth leagues. We were returning pitchers with winning records. These players wanted to be on another State Winning Baseball team. This time they wanted the trophy as high school players.
Then they lost their coach.
Two young men took the helm. They were former Cannon County High School baseball players. Both Justin Fann and Douglas Martin played in college. These young men have careers and they gave up their family time and spare time to coach these boys when another coach couldn’t be found. Coach Graves, the Assistant High School Football coach had to sign on a teacher/coach of record since neither Coach Fann nor Coach Martin are employees of the school system.
The season started when the temperatures were much more akin to football weather but the players took to the field. The fans were freezing and complaining but the boys played through rain, fog, sleet and occasionally snowflakes.
The boys played a challenging schedule set by their former coach. The team played in tournaments designed for AAA teams as well as their own AA schedule. No, their record isn’t good. They were 6th out of 8 teams in their bracket. They lost their first district tournament game and then came back to win the second. That set the stage for having to win the next two games to advance. They fell short by one run losing in the bottom of the seventh inning to the second-ranked team in the district.
These boys are to be commended. They gave their all. Some of the boys warmed the bench but they cheered on the team. Some of them ran after the foul balls dodging cars and cows. Some were beverage dispensers but all were important to the team. They won as a team and they lost as a team.
Those who cheered them on were parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, girlfriends and die-hard baseball fans. Occasionally a few students would look through the barrier at the local field and then head off to other adventures. Where are the bus loads of fans that follow the football team and the basketball teams?
These young men deserved your support and respect too. They love the game of baseball and this is their passion.
I want to thank those of you who did support the team. Many businesses and individuals have given money as sponsors. Thank you to the people who bought the rib eye steak sandwiches and the taco salads. Thank you to those who dropped money in the buckets at the road stops and had their cars washed. Thanks for buying the ferns and mums. All of this helped buy equipment, pay for transportation, pay umpires and maintain the field.
Next year will be “their year.” They are determined to grow and mature as players and coaches. Hopefully, all of the boys will return. This year’s team was comprised of 5freshmen, 5 sophomores and 4 juniors. There were no seniors on the team this year but they will be lead by four outstanding young men as seniors in the 2015 season. Nick Vassar, Trent Bragg, Jake Todd and Jackson Mason will be the core of the team. I’m sure the rising juniors Jared Judkins, Tucker Francis, Bailey Hale, Josh Williams and Austin Martin will give 110% to the team. I know future sophomores Sam Schau, Chandler Todd, Houston Dorris, Preston Campbell and Tanner Pharris want to do their part in securing that state champion trophy. Why do I say this? I’ve watched these boys for years and I believe in them.
Season 2015 will be “Their Year.” Do what you can to encourage these fine young men.
- Janet Barnes, a proud granna