CVT Sports Columnist
If you are one of my loyal readers or even just a casual reader, you may have noticed that I have taken a bit of an absence these past few weeks. The reason behind this is because I’ve been in a whirlwind of events as a senior, but mainly because I was wrapping up my senior season as an Estill County High School baseball player.
Coming into this season the baseball team was expected to have a setback season. Losing 10 seniors and returning 4 everyday starters, many had us picked to be one of the worst teams in the region. Getting off to a slow 4-6 start, Coach Brian Crowe huddled us all up and set us a goal, the goal was to finish the regular season under 10 losses. At the time, it seemed insurmountable, but we were starting to see the pieces fall into place. We looked around and started to realize we had one of the better defenses in the region along with one of the better pitching staffs. We only had one consistent varsity arm coming back in our pitching staff this year, and that was Tanner Crowe. Many thought pitching would be our biggest struggle, but we saw plenty of bright spots. Austin Dunn, Cade Lisle, and Jacob Arnold all stepped up big on the mound for the Engineers as we finished with a team ERA of 2.24.
At this point, we knew if our bats woke up, we were set. Sure enough, they did. The turning point of the season was the Fleming County game on April 13th. We knew Fleming County was no slouch, and it would take all hands on deck to walk away with a win. Our pitching struggled a little bit that game, so we knew we had to have our bats wake up to win that game. That’s exactly what they did too, as we scratched across eight runs to beat Fleming county 8-6. We knew we had something special when we went on to beat rival Powell County 3-2 the next night, then the following morning we went on to shutout a tough Letcher County team 3-0. We ended up dropping the next game to Montgomery County, but we all still had that feeling that something special was about to happen, and it did as we win on to only lose one game the rest of the regular season. Highlighted by a 7-0 win over Lincoln County, a 4-2 win over Madison Southern, and a walk off 4-3 victory once again over rival Powell County. We completed goal number one and goal number two as we finished the season 21-9 and locked up the number one seed in the district. The next goal of course, was to win the district championship, and that’s exactly what we did as we beat the Pirates 3-1 to complete the season sweep on Powell County.
Then came the 14th regional tournament, and unfortunately every story does not have a happy ending. The Engineers drew heavy favorite Perry County Central, but we were very optimistic that we would be region champions come that Wednesday night. Sadly, we were a few plays short of beating the Commodores as they beat us 6-3.
To conclude this recap, as one of the seniors, I would like to acknowledge the seniors who played this season. They are Jacob Arnold, Dylan Arthur, Shaun Blackwell, Colten Chaney, Tanner Crowe, Austin Dunn, Brad Kirby, Cade Lisle, Hunter Osborne, and myself, Brent Wainscott. Tanner Crowe will follow in his brother’s footsteps and join Estill County alumnus Zach Withers at Berea College to continue his baseball career. We wish him nothing but the best.
I think I can speak for every senior when I say these past years playing baseball were some of the best years of our lives. We are so grateful and fortunate that the Lord blessed us with the ability to play the game we love so much for so long. We are grateful for the coaches who helped us along the way, especially Brian Crowe, Blake Crowe, Cade Berryman, and Robbie Hunter. We are grateful for all the support we received from the community and for the best bus driver in the world Tommy “Gunn” Mullen. But most importantly, we are thankful for the parents who helped us along the way, who made sure we had everything ready, and always gave us the extra motivation to play our best. I was so fortunate to play on this team and alongside these seniors as this is a group of some really great men, and I wouldn’t have wanted to play with anyone else. This has truly been the time of my life.