CGHS Front Row: Behind Home Plate
Writer / Leigh Lawson
The American pastime of baseball thrives in every community. From those first moments on the ball diamonds where pre-kindergarteners play tee ball all the way to the major league, baseball still captures that American pride and spirit. Center Grove loves the American pastime and equally loves its high school team. While baseball is a part of the community, it is a community within itself.
Most of the CGHS team has played within the Center Grove Little League, either together or competing against each other. Beyond those CG Little League days, most continued honing their skills in competitive travel leagues. They came together, though, to represent their school and community on the CGHS team.
The Trojans are finishing their second year under the leadership of Coach Keith Hatfield. The season has been a season of success including a ranking in the top 10, winning the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference (MIC) Championship as well as the Johnson County Tournament and advancing to Regionals.
Jennifer Coy, parent of graduate and starting catcher Nathaniel Coy, shared how much her baseball family means to her. “We have a very special group of families and parents,” she said. “While some [players] have played on competing travel teams, most of the boys have played together since Little League. The parents, families and the boys really enjoy each other and truly support every boy. The bonds are very strong and something we all really cherish.”
As with most CGHS athletic institutions, the baseball team has favorite traditions handed down through the years. Most include ways to demonstrate team pride. Baseball parents take the reins through organizing buttons that display their players, the telephone pole signs that lead to the school and the senior banners that celebrate the contributions of those teammates. The senior parents take the lead on organizing the traditions and preparing the parents of the underclassmen.
With the arrival of Coach Hatfield, new traditions came too. According to Coy, the team and families embraced these new traditions. The merging of traditions made the season enjoyable while strengthening the already-strong baseball community.
Coy believes that the merging of the old and new has created close working relationships. “We work very closely with Coach Hatfield and the assistants … We are very fortunate to have such a great working relationship with the coaches. It has made the season very special.”
Traditions and games are only parts of a season. While winning games and advancing in important tournaments are the focus, there are some behind-the-scenes chores. The parents “step up to the plate” in doing those jobs.
They tackle the daunting job of washing the team’s uniforms. They organize team dinners and meals for between games. These jobs are not dreary chores but a demonstration of support. They not only work to feed the team, but they coordinate the task of feeding the game crowd by operating the concession stands.
For Coy, this has been a busy season filled with memories. She prepared to witness her son graduate and celebrate his milestone achievement as a student. She treasured Nathaniel’s last baseball season as a Trojan. With spring sports, the emotional roller coaster for a parent of a senior student athlete is condensed.
The ride is thrilling and quick. It epitomizes the reality of the brevity of these high school years for sons, daughters and parents. Wasn’t it just yesterday that the Class of 2015 hit their first ball off that baseball tee? The echoes of the parents’ cheers from that first baseball moment to the last CGHS game will forever remain in their hearts.