The summer season began back in May when high school baseball came to an end. Just like every other year prior to this season for decades American Legion baseball continues to attract the best players from high school and eligible college freshman returning home for the summer to continue to improve their skills and play the game they truly enjoy. These ball players continue to play for the love of the game as amateur athletes.
Also, we should not forget the coaches who volunteer their time, experience and knowledge who do make a difference in these young men’s lives. It’s highly competitive baseball, however, the life skills they learn on and off the field with their teammates and adult mentors will remain with them forever. These are sweet seasons, the pure pleasure of playing the game, the competition, memories, heroics, friendships, frustration and the magic of the pursuit of excellence builds character in a youngsters heart and mind that will last a lifetime.
I know when this writer participated in Legion baseball in the late 60’s some of my best memories of the game go directly back to this time of my life. I would suspect many of the players involved in the Mint Hill program will experience similar reflections when they look back upon this time. This is the golden age for the majority of these players if not all of them for only less than one percent who play this game will make it to the major leagues across this great nation. They will move on entering other fields, make an impact in whatever careers and endeavors they pursue throughout their lives becoming good productive responsible citizens.
The team was recently defeated in a game 5 series ending loss 12-11 in eleven innings to the Gaston Braves in the quarterfinal round of the state championship series at Belmont Abbey College. These boys gave it their best effort in a game that had no losers because the hometown boys gave it their all and just came up short. It’s not always about winning and losing the big game. It’s really all about how you learn to handle victory, adversity and defeat. It even goes deeper as the boys come to the growing realization that integrity, conduct and sportsmanship, on and off the field, are more important than the game itself.
They did an outstanding job throughout the entire summer season giving us thrills and even sometimes learning humility. They are a great bunch of young men who deserve a big thank you for an exciting season that certainly had it’s ups and downs.
We wish them much success and look forward to next season when some boys will return along with a new crop of young prospects from the local area who will represent the Town of Mint Hill.