A few observations or musings from a baseball mom
Many things could be said about the QHS baseball team in 2022. This team flew under the radar most of the season. The task of playing the toughest schedule was very daunting. At times, as a mom and former athlete, I questioned if the plan was setting our boys up for failure (spoiler alert – it wasn’t). However, as the team was in the midst of the losses, I began to notice smiles returning and belief that the plan would be an advantage later.
This team was special, not only because my son played on it (although that ranks extremely high for this mom), but also because they found ways to play together. This team was not without controversy. I mean all families have disagreements from time to time. It’s how you handle those times that make the difference. Every single person on the field and in the dugout bonded which translated to success on the field.
Much has been said about two of the seniors (Luke Morgan and Ty Simonelli) that have signed to play baseball in college (and rightly so). However, there’s a lot that hasn’t been said about the rest of this team. The athletic award ceremony doesn’t allow the time that every coach desires. This team was special and deep with talent (as they say in stick and ball sports).
10th MAN – John Ragan Hasley played outfield, pitched, and was a designated hitter on occasion. His smile and humor was contagious. He got a very timely base hit during a district win over the eventual State Champs, Choudrant.
UTILITY – Riley Duck played every position at one time or another (and very well I might add). He had a special knack for being able to get base hits when needed. His defensive skills were on display at the semifinal game against Converse. He caught a hard line drive while playing third and dove back to the base with ball inside the glove to tag the base and get the runner out turning a double play. It was a sweet play.
CLUTCH – Ian Tilley also played multiple positions. He became one of our clutch pitchers as well as had some timely hits at critical times. Ian was our closer against Singer in our first playoff game. He came in struck out the first 2 batters he faced, walked the 3rd, intentionally walked the 4th batter (and best hitter), and then drew an infield fly to end the game.
MAD SKILLS – Shortstop was normally occupied by Logan Ponder. He pitched as well. One particular play that occurred at Grant was very memorable. A ball was bunted down first base line. Logan was pitching and dove to get the ball. While in mid-air and in the process of landing outside the baseline, he flips the ball to first for the out. He also had some timely hits throughout the season (one during the Pitkin playoff game).
SOLID and CONSISTENT – At second you would find Kyler West. Last season Kyler had broken his wrist. This season he came back with a vengeance. His defense was stellar and his bat consistent. His play at second was one of the reasons we won the Pitkin quarterfinal game. I believe there was even a double-play or two turned this season.
OUTFIELD ACES – Cam Hollis and Cam Deal (or Cam squared or the bread on the Cam sandwich when Ty was in center) sealed up our outfield. Depending on who we had pitching, you’d likely find Hollis in center or left and Deal in right or left. Both made great catches as well as had the capability to hold runners on base. Hollis became known as bunt king throughout his career but had some timely hits as well. He started the rally with a hard base hit to left in the Singer playoff game. Deal had a double in one of our district matchups against Choudrant that was very timely. In this same district game, Hollis played in center. He made deep balls and sliced fly balls look like easy catches. With bases loaded and 2 outs, he ran down a deep fly ball in the Pitkin playoff game that certainly contributed to the win. Both Hollis and Deal had diving catches during the season. Again, they were both solid in the outfield. Hollis also pitched early in the season (usually in rain, sleet, and/or 30-degree weather, lol).
VACUUM – Blake Carter was our main first baseman when he wasn’t occupying the mound. Blake aka STRETCH due to his height and ability to stretch almost to second to catch balls. Many games he sucked balls right out of the dirt to save many an out. Blake’s bat also came alive this year with many timely hits.
STEADY RELIEVER – Pete Simonelli (Ty’s younger brother) turned out to be one of our steady relievers on the mound. He was consistent and had a few games where he shut down the opponent. One special moment was when he closed for older brother Ty at Minden (Mom was sweating bullets). He also played first base when Blake was pitching. Always smiling, he could dig a ball from the dirt with the best of them.
FUTURE THREATS – Landyn Caskey, Brayden Hobbs, Hayden Davis, Camden Barnett, and Jake Potts are all future threats both at the plate and in the field (in multiple positions). The Lay brothers (Tyler and Bryan aka Peanut) are a couple future outfielders. These brothers are some of the sweetest kids and not to mention have some of the best hair on the team.
YOUNG GUNS – Kace West, Maddox Duck, Hudson Pullig (our trio of 8th graders) saw action at various times. Keep an eye on this group. They have the skills in the field and at the plate to prove deadly to future opponents.
All of these mentioned are some of the best young men around. Although not all players saw much action on the field, all could be found every game making sure those playing had all of their equipment in a timely manner. This alone is such an important task during a game that it often goes unnoticed. These young men could also be found encouraging and cheering for their elder teammates.
This teams season would not have been successful without each of these players and all of the coaches. EVERY SINGLE PLAYER CONTRIBUTED.
QHS baseball will dearly miss all 4 seniors at their respective positions and the leadership each provided in their own way. Three of the 4 seniors (Cam Hollis, Luke Morgan and Kyler West) made QHS history by going to state semifinals twice in their high school careers. Our seniors were not only talented athletes, but also smart academically. Among the 4, one was Valedictorian, and all 4 were in Beta club and on honor roll. While Luke and Ty are continuing their baseball careers in college, Cam and Kyler have chosen to start their next phase of life.
Don’t be fooled. The QHS baseball team may be younger next year, but future opponents need to be on the lookout. QHS baseball will be back. I have a feeling they will keep adding to the legacy of QHS baseball.
As a mom, this family is what I will miss the most. I will miss the hugs, the mom nerves, the crazy aunts, the victories, and even the losses. Guys go on and make this mom and your former (that sounds really weird still) teammates proud.
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