If you ask him, Hal McCoy might tell you he just got tired of waiting on the major league owners and players to quit fighting. Or, he might just admit…that writing about high school kids play for free is just as much fun, and easier.
Weeks ago Hal McCoy told me, “I’m not doing the Reds this year. I still like doing it, but it’s too far, too late at night, and they might not play, anyway.”
I lit up like a Christmas tree.
“Hey, that means no conflicts with doing tournament high school baseball, including the state tournament, right?” I questioned.
“Sure,” he answered. “I enjoy covering the state tournament. It’s a lot of fun. I’m in.”
Well, there will be no state tournament this weekend, thank you very much, Mike DeWine. And without further commentary, there’s more casualties of a different kind among the boys of spring than there would have been from Covid, had they played.
But in the absence of those games local Newton baseball coach Jordan Kopp, who we featured earlier in the week, has supplemented area high school baseball through the next five weeks by putting together a series of tournaments for high school teams, and summer travel teams, at various locations, including Newton, Piqua, Springfield, and Tipp City (allowing that they open the school facility). It was too good to pass up, so I asked this week.
“Hey Hal, since there’s no state tournament would you like to ride up to Newton on June 18-21st to write about high school teams from Newton, Russia, Piqua, Fort Loramie, and Bethel playing in a weekend double elimination tournament?”
“Sign me up,” he said over a plate of tacos at La Fiesta.
And so it goes. Starting this weekend, June 4-7, amateur baseball can be seen at Newton, and in two weeks the five teams listed above will come to Pleasant Hill to play in front of the artful watch of the hall of famer and Press Pros Magazine.
“Ideally, we’d like to get the high school kids 16 to 20 games to play in the month of June,” said Kopp earlier in the week. “That’s the goal, and if we can get that many games in it’ll be a really successful summer for us. It’s just good to see kids out playing, hearing the crack of the bat, and seeing them make plays.”
Senior to be, Dylan Huber, from Newton, echoed his coaches’ words.
“None of us thought it was fair to have the game taken away from us like that, and you know…it’s just nice to come back and play in nice weather and have people show up to watch. This is what we live for. This is one of my favorite things to do.”
Games for the weekend tourneys at Newton will begin at 11:15 AM and continue through 8:15 PM. There’s ample room for seating if you’re mindful about social distancing, and there’s plenty of parking. Everyone is reminded, of course…including all the catchers…to bring your own mask.
And don’t forget to stop and say hello to Hal on June 18. He’ll be the one with the similes and metaphors!