One week from today, the Christian Collegiate Academy senior class of 2020 will bid farewell to a high school departure unlike any other.
Seven of those soon-to-be graduates have now taken the diamond for the last time as Bulldogs on a senior night unlike any other.
LHP/ First Baseman Brandon Dear said, “Definitely just some weird faces. Saw some people come in with beards and I didn’t really expect that. It was cool.”
Second Baseman Casey Clanahan said, “Well, I’m not as tough as I thought I was. I thought I’d be fine going through it, but sometimes it’ll catch you and have a little tear come up.”
It’s a mixed bag of emotions at CCA where Thursday’s baseball and softball reunion makes it feel a lot like hello, but the senior send-off a lot like goodbye. “I look at the field now, and I’m like dang. I wish we had another try, but I feel like next year and another year or two, I’m going to really be missing it.”
Head Baseball Coach Verlon Carrell said, “These seniors have been with me for three years now, and we’ve been building and this was our year.”
Led by their six seniors, the baseball Bulldogs were 8-4 and getting hot at the right time. Unfortunately, we all know what happened next. “And pandemic comes in, and cut it short.”
“It’s been tough, just not playing. It’s been abnormal. It really has, cause you’re used to playing at this time of year, and then just, it’s shut down.”
More than two months later, players, coaches, and parents are back together for the first time since with a new perspective on the senior season that never was. “I think it’s more about life, and that’s what we tell the kids. It’s not about baseball. And if it becomes about baseball, then we need to reevaluate everything.”
“You kind of just take it for granted because you’ve been playing for so many years, and then we can definitely look back on it and tell our loved ones about it and be like yeah, well, we went through this and all those times. It’ll be a good lesson to teach someone someday that there’s more to life than just sports.”
Brandon Dear and Casey Clanahan, who were both batting over .450 this season, get another four years on the diamond at Faulkner University, alongside the son of Coach Brady Carrell who’s heading to Montgomery, Alabama on a football scholarship.
That being said, there’s still something that feels incomplete about not leaving it all on the field. “(And in what ways did this feel like a proper, official senior night?) I don’t think it did. We didn’t get to be on the field like we wanted to and look at the scoreboard and see our team winning and all. But at the same time, it has officially ended.”
“On the back of our shirts we have 541, and that is for Matthew 5:41. It talks about going the second mile. And as I told them earlier, do everything that’s expected of you and then some, and God is going to take care of the rest. So that’s my parting words to them, and then some.”
Coach Carrell says after graduation, he and four of those soon-to-be graduates are going on a senior trip together to Gulf Shores, Alabama.