Military Appreciation Night against Fulton

Connor Parrish, Sports Editor

It was a cool afternoon with some clouds coming in on a Wednesday night with the stands full of fans; it was the four and seventeen Battle Spartans vs the five and ten Fulton Hornets on Military Appreciation night.

The first pitch was thrown out by Clyde Kaneer, grandfather of junior Nathan Browning, with a 50/50 raffle ticket going on during the game to fundraise for Missouri Honor Flight association. By the end of the first inning, Battle was ahead two to nothing, then Fulton came back and hit a two-run homer from Woodrow Foster on the top of the second. Battle got one run in on the bottom of the second to take the lead 3-2. Then it was a no run scoring game until starting pitcher sophomore Caleb Carker came out in the top of the sixth. Then Browning took over, giving up 3 runs.

Coach Doug Boyer said, “I think he [Browning] was leaving pitches right down the plate, almost everything they [Fulton] hit was fastballs. We did not get enough off-speed balls. In his warm-up he was out of the zone those off-speed pitches have got to be more sellable, have to end up in the zone, so they [Fulton] don’t sit on fastballs.”

At the top of the sixth, sophomore Grayson Gregrich came in and gave up seven runs, and gave up two more runs in the top of the seventh. Battle scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh. The final score was 12-5 for Fulton.

After the game, both teams brought veterans or currently serving soldiers out onto the field, recognized soldiers, and played God Bless America.

Coach Boyer is supportive of the military appreciation night and has plans for the next military appreciation night. “The second time through I think people from last year understood what it was all about and wanted to come back and participate. When we were shaking hands, people were telling me thank you for doing this, showing our young folks the importance of saying thank you to our men and women who served and committed their lives to serve. Next year we have been talking about doing the ceremony with Hickman or Rock Bridge,”  Boyer said.

Senior Joe Lee said, “[Military Night is] a very big deal. We all have a lot of family members in service. It tells us to take a step back and look at the world around us because without them we would not be able to play the game we love or do these things for them.”

Battle baseball lately has been on a downturn with one win out of 14 games. Lee said, “We have a young group of guys on varsity with only four seniors total, we’re still trying to adjust. We have those rare games where they do adjust.”

Coach Boyer said, “[The players] still believe that they can make a run at the end, as much as we have kind of poked at them along the way, I still believe that they think they can still win games at the end. They’re not quitting, they still compete hard, they still want to win, and the desire and drive are still there.”

During the game, the team switched out three pitchers. Carker played the first 5 innings. Caraker said, “My arm started getting sore, I tried to rub it out.”

The third pitcher Gregrich came in the start of the sixth and gave up seven runs in one inning. The game was Gregrich’s first game pitching since he sprained his UCL (Tommy John). Gregrich acknowledged that there is a lot of work for the pitchers.

“We need to work on focusing when every we get into a tough situation. When someone gets a hit, just focus and relax to reset yourself,” Gregrich said.

Battle baseball has struggled throughout this year; however, many appreciate the event for recognizing military members.