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June 9, 2016 • Sports
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Jac-Cen-Del Eagle seniors…
Putting it all on the line, one last time

Gary Franklin

Many different words and stories will be written about athletic teams’ challenges and dreams. Those which have special meanings will likely represent a more resonating place in memory and history. The final season of the school year and the final team to remain standing of ORVC baseball competitor teams included such a finality worth noting, as the Jac-Cen-Del Eagles Baseball Team behind veteran Head Coach David Bradshaw and his five senior team members, became the IHSAA Sectional #60 Class 1A Baseball Tournament Champions. The five seniors included student manager Caleb Schwier, Tyler Huff, Maverick Dwenger, Allen Troy, and Josh Roe. As the old saying goes, “Worth earning, worth fighting for.” Traditionally, Eagles teams have proven sports battles are worth fighting for; no reason the 2016 baseball action would merit anything less.


Pictured left, junior Eagle left-fielder Ben Harlemert smashes the baseball to the base of the left field fence, leading to 2 RBIs and a triple for his efforts, closing JCD’s Regional championship deficit to 5-7 with his at bat in top of the third inning.

Sectional #60 action at Shawe High School resulted in the Eagles battling for 7 full innings to secure a second round bid with their 10-2 victory over the South Decatur Cougars and a seven inning, second game of the day for the championship title, earning victory over the Hauser Jets by the count of 6-0. As happens too often, the sectional victory and the impending regional baseball schedule presented a conflict of interest; that being JCDHS had once again slated the senior graduation exercise on the same date as baseball Regional competition.

A quick call to IHSAA caught some relief, as the game was moved up an hour from the original 11 a.m. start to 10 a.m. An obvious help, however, the game was to be played at Morristown High School, meaning an early start for the day for the Eagles, but more especially extra stress knowing rain was expected and that a return to JCDHS for senior members to graduate at 2 p.m. would be greatly challenged, Mother Nature cooperated, no rain, and the game got underway at 10 a.m.; however, the challenge set forth by the Greenwood Christian Cougars, the home team, was not going to go so easily. Crunched for time, the battle raged on. The final out rang up for the 5-3 victory with the Cougars third out in the 10th inning.

Eagle players, managers, coaches, parents, and fans hustled to their vehicles and made the mad dash back to JCDHS where the buses pulled into the parking lot a full three minutes before the onset of the graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. Reloading a short time later, the team was on the road again, through torrential rain storms as they made their way back to Morristown for the possible playing of the Regional Championship game. Possible, because rain had also hit Morristown after game two and their grounds crew was working feverishly in the process of squeegeeing, vacuuming and raking the wet diamond, while adding brick dust to help dry and get it ready for the final contest slated for a 7 p.m. onset. That was delayed for approximately an hour, as the field was again back to playing condition. And then, it happened: the playing of The National Anthem, introduction of players and the call to play ball! The wheels on the bus did not go round and round but literally fell off, as JCD went through a stressful meltdown once the game against the Clay City Eels got underway.

A run in the top of the first inning for JCD turned into error, error, error, etc. once they took the field. The adage that one can only handle so much in a day’s time was indeed ringing true for the Eagles. The final score was Clay City 10, JCD 6. Jac-Cen-Del’s season ends 17-6 overall as Sectional Champions, 9-3 in ORVC conference for 2nd place. In observation, JCD was robbed…the weaker team advanced from Regional action…play this game any day but on graduation day and JCD crushes them and moves on. Thanks for the ride seniors and JCD Eagles! The Eagles arrived back home at the JCDHS parking lot for a second time just before the stroke of midnight, culminating one very long, positive, exciting, fulfilling, stressful and exasperating day. A true roller coaster of high - highs and low - lows and some of everything else in the middle.

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