High school returners trying to make up for lost time

For many high school seniors, the lost spring season brought the end of their athletic careers.

For juniors, or even underclassmen, it cost them an important year of practice and development.

“We missed a whole year. That’s a lot of reps,” said Republic’s Gavin Walker.

Each of those missed reps makes the next one that much bigger.

“Seeing live pitching is a big deal, because not seeing that for an entire season that’s rough. So live pitching is awesome,” said Fair Grove’s Tanner Lumley.

It’s one aspect of the game offered through the SABA Baseball League this summer for high school returners around the area.

Some of them have found themselves learning on the go.

“Kids who didn’t really think they would play this summer at the varsity level, all of a sudden they’re thrown in there. So, they’re finding ways to figure it out,” said Fair Grove Baseball Coach Christian Overstreet.

Tanner and Gavin are like many athletes who will be seniors in 2021, after last seeing high school competition as sophomores.

“Junior year is a big year,” Gavin said. “You hit a lot of growth spurts, you get stronger.”

Plus, junior year is critical for college recruiting.

“That’s when colleges see you, so that [would’ve] been nice, but I’ll just do what I can my senior year and if I have to go to a [junior college] and get better, that’s a great opportunity,” Tanner said.

Opportunity will be a key word next year, as these guys say even normal practice days won’t be taken for granted.

“You don’t get this every day of your life, and you might not get it after high school so you have to take advantage of it,” Gavin said.

“It’s tough, but I mean life’s tough so you just got to react, and you have to play good next year,” Tanned added. “You have to make it count.”

Because with 2020 lost to the pandemic, the spring of 2021 is their last chance to wear their high school uniforms.

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