While we continue a return to normalcy after Coronarvirus, one can't help but think about think about what was taken away from each of us. And that goes for sports as well. And Memorial baseball has used that as motivation this spring.
A sectional crowns are nothing new for the Memorial baseball program, however this Memorial Day was extra special for the Tigers.
"It was awesome," said Memorial senior pitcher/infielder Jake Purdue. "We've been working so hard for it. With missing the season last year, it was just that much more special."
When you enter Stone Field, you're instantly met with signs of Memorial baseball's glorious past. There's reminders of where this program has been, and the standard that has been set. However, one sign in particular is the driving motivation for this team. Last year's seniors, Connor Quick, Will Rust and Ethan Kelle.
"We wanted to win that for them too," said Purdue, "because they didn't get the chance to come out and play last year. We just really wanted to get that done for them.
"We started at the very beginning talking about opportunities," said Memorial head coach Rip Collins. "What opportunities they did not have. Three of the hardest calls I've ever had to make was to call those guys and tell them that you're not going to have your senior season. And they handled it well."
"It wasn't the biggest class, obviously, three kids," said Memorial senior pitcher/infielder Nick Coleman, "but we were all real close to them. We're all really close friends with them. We obviously all felt terrible for not only them, but for any senior that lost lost their season last year. So that's why we play for them."
"They were the leaders for us last year," said Memorial senior pitcher/infielder Dayton Lenning. "We would come early in the mornings and throw. They'd lead us. Then, that got taken away in one day. So, we always think about that."
And those three members of the class of 2020 remain with this team, not only in spirit, but physically, as well. Pushing this team into the regionals this coming Saturday in Huntingburg.
"They're all three super nice guys," said Collins. "Just good guys. They've come back. They've reached out. They know all these guys. They've been around these guys. It's great to see them, when they can be in. One's at USI, one's at Purdue and one's at IU, so they've been around. But as far as motivation, you just want these kids to understand the opportunity they have and what opportunity those guys didn't have, and take advantage of every day, every practice, every pitch, every sprint, every ground ball. That opportunity is there. Motivation. These guys are motivated within, hopefully, still. It kind of goes together."