Prep Baseball Report

No 'Last Dance' For High School Seniors: Part Four

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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No 'Last Dance' For High School Seniors: Part Four

PART FOUR: The following is the fourth of an in-depth six-part story looking at the 2020 high school baseball season in Ohio which was officially cancelled this week.

Memories like trips to Florida or other sites in the south, league title games and tournament wins are among the lost opportunities due to COVID-19.

For now, coaches and baseball players alike can only reminisce about what happened last year while also thinking about what might have been. But there is also the matter of learning from every situation that you come across.


There is a lot to learn whenever facing adversity.

“What I saw last year … any year, and what I am seeing in 2020, is that high school baseball is a special time for those who are a part of it,” said Saint Ignatius head coach Brad Ganor. “The experiences and environment can't be duplicated by summer baseball. It just can't. The bonds these kids have with their classmates/teammates/friends/brothers is what makes high school baseball and high school sports so special. I can't be told otherwise.”

Other coaches are also getting a taste of reality.

“What I am taking from this season are many,” Coldwater’s Brian Harlamert said. “You don’t know how important things are to you until someone takes it away from you. I know our program is strong and this will make us stronger. You win some like in 2019, you lose some like in 2018 (3-2 loss to South Range in the state finals), and sometimes it ‘rains’ like in 2020.”

C-J’s Michael Barhorst has learned that time goes by fast.

“When you see your players walk off the field the last time as seniors, it’s hard to believe that they’ve been around you for four years,” Barhorst said. “That’s why it’s so disappointing that this year’s seniors were shorted a year. It already flies by so fast, and now so many kids have missed out on their chance to take over a starting role, or have a breakout season.

“I would just tell kids coming up from junior high or underclassmen, to cherish every minute you get to play with your friends and teammates.”

For Defiance’s Tom Held, there is a need to grasp what this means in the future

“One thing we can all take from the adversity we are facing throughout the country is, WE CAN NOT TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED,” Held said. ”Appreciate the freedoms we have because when we lose them, it will affect your lives.” 

Crestwood’s John Bakalar sees the lost season as life lessons irretrievable..

“In the end to me, the biggest disappointment is the loss of the high school experience,” Bakalar stated. “Every year our goal is to win our league and win a state championship but we also know the realities of our program and our staff focuses on how we can ensure that when our players graduate they look back at their baseball experience and think of it as one of the best four-year experiences of their life.

“Playing a team sport can teach us all so many valuable life lessons we can't necessarily learn in a classroom, creating lifelong friendships and memories. To lose out on that experience can leave a void. Even this situation can teach us a lot, but it still doesn't change the fact that it hurts that we don't get a chance to play the game we love with people we love.”


Not having the chance to get on the ball diamond this season has made players think a little bit more about the importance baseball is in their life.

“By all of this happening, I have been reminded to not take a single second of the game for granted and to make the most out of every second,” Archbold’s Kade Kern said.

Michael McNamaraSaint Ignatius senior Michael McNamara, who had a leadoff triple in the 10th inning and scored what proved to be the winning run in last year’s state finals, is on the same page.

“I’ve learned a lot about the game of baseball during this time off,” McNamara noted. “I realize that it’s more than just a game. It’s about the memories we make and the time we spend learning how to become better men and teammates. There is so much to learn while playing the game of baseball, especially in the Saint Ignatius program, that shapes us into the men we become for the rest of our lives.”

Jack Steibel has had his ups and downs in high school, missing nearly all of last season with an injury before not getting the opportunity to show what he can do in his senior year at Mason.

“I have learned that the severity of the role that baseball plays in my life and how incomplete it feels without it,” Steibel said. “This comes from not only playing the game but also being around my teammates.

“It’s a shame that our class across the country won’t have the experiences others have had in the past. It should make everyone cherish the time they have being a member of a team.”

The feeling is the same for Logan Danzeisen.

“I have definitely learned to not take the game for granted,” the Sylvania Southview senior said. “Not being able to play has been really hard. I’m also going to miss having fun with the guys off the field.”

Wyatt Hudepohl admits to being educated - after what has taken place - with how much baseball means and how much he loves the game.

“Having this season taken away from anyone, but especially seniors, gives you a new look on the game and life and to not take any moment for granted,” explained the St. Xavier 2020. “This game teaches you so many lessons in life and I realize how much devotion I want to put into becoming the best I can be on and off the field.

“Not being surrounded by your teammates the whole spring is eye opening on how much your brothers have an effect on your life,” Hudepohl continued. “Being away from the game and my teammates has given me a new-found respect for the game I love and the people I consider my brothers and I can’t wait until I’m able to be with both again.”

Zach Maxey is another appreciating what this is all about.

“Not being able to play this spring has made me think of all the (high school) baseball careers that are ending right now,” the third-rated uncommitted senior in Ohio said. “Guys that have been playing all their lives are now finding out they may never play organized baseball ever again.

“It makes me appreciate all the good times that I’ve had with my teammates over the years. I’ve also learned that being able to play the game of baseball with some of your best friends should never be taken for granted, especially at a time where everybody will be going their separate ways.”

AHEAD: Part Five of this story will look at views from families that are missing out on a final reunion on the field.