Top 3 Submitted Articles
#1 Michael Allen Penney
Playing baseball in high school has been by far the highlight of my life so far. Growing up from the time I was able to swing a bat I played baseball. My love for baseball started with T-ball. From that time on I knew this was the sport that I would continue to play all through elementary school, junior high, and high school.
Once I reached high school, things really started turning around for me as a baseball player. For once I had coaches that were in it for the game and not their own child. Up until high school I was always on teams that had four to five coaches, and each coach had a son on the team, which pushed the other kids off to the background not allowing their abilities to shine. Freshman year of high school I was playing catcher. After a few practices the coaches started talking to me about my arm and how fast I could throw down and keep it accurate. They asked me if I had ever pitched before, and I told them the only pitching I had ever really done was goofing off at home with friends.
Overnight I went from behind the plate to the front of the plate. The coaches spent so much time transforming me into a pitcher, that little did I know would become the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. As a freshman I would get brought up to Varsity games just in case they would need a pitcher. I knew eventually my time to shine would come, it didn't happen in my Freshman year, but I definately learned a lot that year.
Once baseball season came around my Sophmore year, things were really looking up. I started out on the JV team, but honestly never played a JV game that season. Coaches started bringing me along to all the Varsity games, and quickly I proved that I was Varsity material for them. We lost our number two varsity pitcher due to an injury, and I quickly filled that position. I was stacking up the wins, my ERA was the best in the county, I was pitching no hitters. Local news papers, and news station started showing up to my games. They were interviewing me and writing up news articles about me transforming from catcher to pitcher. Our local newspaper wrote an article titled "Catcher Finds Home On The Mound".
Overnight I went from an average baseball player to what felt like a superstar in high school. That year I helped lead our team to winning the OCC (Ohio Cardinal Conference). From there we won our Sectionals. Once the Sophmore season ended I walked away with several awards. I had won the OCC pitcher of the year. I was first team District, first team OCC, and I also recieved several team awards, like Most Valuable Pitcher. My high school baseball career had kicked in and was paying off.
By my Junior year I couldn't wait for baseball season to kick in. I knew we had a lot of our team coming back and I felt we were going to go far this season. We had formed an unbreakable bond, the whole school was rooting us on to take them to state. Junior year started off just as good as the year before, even better. I came back just as strong as the year before. Our team ended up winning the OCC Championship, Sectionals, Regionals, and District One Championship. Again, the awards came pouring in, I couldn't believe this was actually happening. Being a baseball player in high school had become the best experience I have ever had. The staff and students at the school were always giving encouragement. Walking down the halls someone was always yelling out my last name "Penney". It was such a great feeling to have that recongition.
Once Senior year rolled around, I knew things would be a bit more challenging for us that year, we had lost a lot of players to graduation the year before. I knew I had to be a leader and give our team lots of encouragement, pump them up before the games. We still had a strong bond between all of us and that was a key factor in how far we were going to make it. We had a great team of coaches, that pushed us to our limits. My pitching abilities had become top notch, I was getting the wins we needed and my ERA was phenomenal. Umpires were amazed by curve ball, they would talk to the coaches about my pitches after the games. Media was still there interviewing me and writing up articles about me. I didn't want baseball to end, it was bittersweet. I was excited about graduating but on the same hand I knew this would be the end of high school baseball and I hated to see it go. Our team tied for the OCC Championship and made it all the way to the districts and ended up losing the district game. As I was in the dug out packing up my bag, every emotions in my body came flooding out, it was over. The feeling was so overwhelming, I looked over and saw my parents and underneath my mom's sunglasses I could see the tears rolling down her cheeks, which caused my tears to start flowing. I walked over to them, and they hugged me and I knew this couldn't be the end. I needed to figure out my life and where I was going to go to college to be able to play baseball. All this time my grades were just enough to play high school ball, I didn't plan for what I was going to do after this was over, it all happened so quickly. Four years of high school had just flown by in the blink of an eye, and it was the best four years I had ever experienced. At the awards ceremony I had won the OCC Pitcher Of The Year again, first team District, first team OCC, and MVP of my team.
Quickly, I knew that I needed to find a college that would accept me with the GPA I was carrying and I needed to be able to play baseball. My coach made some phone calls that lead me to a college in West Virginia, but my GPA was a few points shy of what it needed to be in order to attend and play baseball. From there that coach made some calls and got me into a JUCO college where I would be able to play baseball. If I didn't have the success that I had in high school, I wouldn't have pushed myself to go to college. High school baseball is what has lead me to wanting to attend college and make a change in my life. I want my college years to be just as wonderful as what my high school years were. I hope to be just as successful. I realize how fortunate I was to become such a success in high school. Not many kids can tell the story that I am able to tell, I just wish I would've paid more attention to the long term effect, and kept my nose in the books. I now know what I need to do to be successful in baseball and in my school work. Determination has brought me this far, and I am going to make sure it keeps taking me further. Looking back at my high school years in baseball I wouldn't change a thing. The bonds that were formed between my fellow teammates and coaches are unbreakable and they will hold a special place in my heart always.
#2 Kaytlyn Ashley Turner
Growing up in a world of sports, we are taught to never give up and keep pushing towards your goals. The blood, sweat, and tears, left on field is an experience that I will never forget. Words cannot come close to express the amount of gratitude I have for the game of softball and all the life lessons that I have acquired from playing this incredible sport. Playing high school softball was one of the greatest privileges of my life. I learned how to become a team player, how to prioritize and balance academics and practices, the value of bonds made between your teammates, the value of a coach’s instruction, and the discipline to stand back up when you have been knocked down.
As a freshman in high school I played catcher on a Club Softball team and 2B High School Varsity team, where softball was taken to whole new level of competiveness. “Leave everything on the field” was the motto we lived by, and the memories made will stay with me forever. Every game was a fresh start; forget about the over throw or strikeout from the previous game, because it’s a new day, new pitcher, and new dirt to get dirty in. The exhilaration experienced winning with your team was such an adrenaline rush; you did everything for your teammates. We placed 2nd at State that season.
After state my sophomore year, and hard work and perseverance in healing from a previous shoulder dislocation from catching, I was privileged to be asked to play on a team USA High School team that traveled to Italy in the summer of 2014. It was an amazing experience I’ll never forget! Softball has opened up so many opportunities in my life; one of many reasons I loved playing this game. My junior year I switched schools so I could get into the Running Start Program for college, and thus ended up at a 3A high school. With my new team came new, stronger than ever relationships; some have developed into lifelong friendships. I loved team bonding dinners, where we connected with teammates through weird games, dares, talking about how you couldn’t wait to crush the team you will play tomorrow, and decorating hats and shirts. The thing I loved most about high school softball was the support and encouragement my team had. Mid-season my senior year, I took a direct hit in the face with a ball being thrown to home, breaking my nose in three places! Coaches and players sat in hospital until 11:30pm that night to make sure I was ok, offering support and praise on how I took it like a champ. After surgery, with encouragement and determination to get back to playing the game I love, I was back on the field diving for balls in three weeks. We took 4th place at State that year, making school history.
Through my high school career, I love how this game taught me that hard work pays off. Practicing for two to three hours a day with my team was something I looked forward to every spring quarter. I couldn’t wait to play the game I had grown up knowing to love and see all the girls I’d come to know so well. From the pitches we hated hitting to the serious but light-hearted atmosphere of practices, through hard won games that led to anticipations of State competition to knowing what songs coach liked to dance to, I will cherish all of these experiences I have taken away from playing high school softball. It was not about what inning I struck out in, the overthrow that caused the loss of the game, or that time coach benched me because my performance wasn’t up to par that day. The reason I loved softball in high school was the energy and laughter of the girls, the knuckles coach gave me before heading out on the field, and all the blood, sweat, and tears, that I left behind on the dirt as I walked off after a game. Softball made me a better and stronger person, and nothing could ever take that away.
#3 Jonathan Ly
Growing up Baseball was the first sport that I played when I was in elementary school. I played all over the field from Outfield, to Infield, to Pitching. I tried playing catcher, but I remember flinching when someone swung their bat. I started playing recreation baseball for a local community recreation center in 5th grade. When I got to middle school, I signed up and played Little League Baseball till I got to high school. Growing up I really enjoyed baseball, but was also trying other sports in middle school to such as Football, Basketball, and Soccer.
When I got to high school, I first started tackle football at Serra High School. I participated in the offseason workouts for football until baseball season came around. Once baseball season started I tried out and made the JV team as the Relief pitcher/Short Stop. I enjoyed baseball my Freshman year of High School because of the fun we had during the games in the dugout. I love competing and loved being around my teammates. Even though our coaches were strict, practice was not fun because of the amount of conditioning we had to do. We conditioned so much because we would never pay attention when a coach was speaking. As a former baseball athlete, I appreciate all the fan support from parents and friends. I learned so much about the sport of baseball in which I can pass down to younger athletes. I was not the best player on the field, but I had a lot of love for the game. I wanted to get better each day. I always came to practice early to get some early workouts in and I’d use to stay after practice to practice my technique with my position coach. I work so hard to grow from a bench player to being put in the starting lineup as a Short Stop on the days I did not pitch. I struggled so much when I was up at the plate batting so I was always put at the eighth spot in the lineup as a Short Stop.
I only played High School Baseball for one year because prior to my second season of baseball I got a job at Cricket Wireless. When I got the job, I was unable to juggle work and school. I was working every other day after school till closing. I asked if I could work on the weekends so I can play baseball during the weekdays, but that was not possible because they were short staff on the weekdays. I wanted to work so I can build my resume early and try to save up for personal expenses on sporting equipment’s.