The injured mouth and dental repair for one player and the staples in the head of another eventually will be forgotten, but Arts & Sciences baseball coaches, players, administrators and fans never will forget the heart-felt hospitality and sympathy extended by host Marion County after two Patriots players collided during a game last week.
"I've never seen anything like it," CSAS coach Rik Hermann said.
And in an email to Marion principal Larry Zeigler, CSAS principal Jim Boles wrote, "I am writing you to tell you how proud you should be of your entire community ... from your baseball players to the coaches, parents, umpires and anyone else who may have been involved."
After CSAS second baseman Lucas Hicks and right fielder Spencer Lowe ran into each other, Marion County players, coaches, parents and fans went out of their way to make things as easy as possible for the injured players and their teammates.
"When I got out there, one of the kids was completely out and the other was just waking up," Hermann said.
"Our center fielder was the first guy to get to them, and my eyes were on him to gauge his reaction. He ran up, said, 'Oh my gosh,' and turned away," Hermann said. "I knew it wasn't good."
Both players were checked and are still being monitored for concussion symptoms. One had some teeth knocked out and the other suffered a bloody gash on his head. Hermann said each is recovering but still has the pains normally expected from an auto accident.
"You watch for them to roll around in pain, to yell, something, but neither did anything," Hermann said.
An umpire stabilized the neck of one of the boys. Others called for rags to wipe away the blood while all waited for the ambulance to arrive.
"Their coaches were patting me on the back, talking with our players, getting bags of ice and towels, and their players all took a knee along the first-base line," Hermann recalled. "Their guys were cleaning up our dugout, carrying our guys' bags and just talking to them, which I thought was far above the things you'd think high school kids would do.
"Being an administrator at ballgames has at times tainted my love for the game, and I often get exhausted by the negative attitudes and reactions of fans who sometimes become too intense and miss the true meaning of competition," Boles said. "That night was not the case. It was a reminder of what life is all about and that there are still wonderful people in this world. The entire Marion County community made a huge impact on the familes of our school, and it will not be forgotten.
"I will tell folks of that night and the love, support and care that we received from everyone in Marion County."
The district races
Boyd-Buchanan and Hixson are unbeaten in their respective districts (5-A, 6-AA), Chattanooga Christian and Grundy County are tied atop 7-AA and Marion County and Whitwell are a game behind South Pittsburg in 6-A.
While most other Monday games were postponed because of the rain, Ooltewah was trying to extend its surprising lead in 5-AAA in the first of a two-game series with East Hamilton.
In 6-AA, Central and Tyner are a game behind Hixson with one loss each. Hixson plays Tyner while Central faces Red Bank tonight and Wednesday, and in 7-AA Signal Mountain (6-3) tries to maintain the pressure on Grundy and CCS (each 7-2).
Players selected to the Hurricane Classic all-tournament team were MVP Hunter Owen, Ethan Hollingshead, Hunter Parker and Josh Aslinger of host and champion East Hamilton; the Gwinnett Barons' A.J. Statham, Chapman Whitted and Jim Deitsch; Chattanooga Christian's Mac Cochran and Jack Bosworth; Tyner's Bryan Wilson; Signal Mountain's Chris Feemster, and Grace Academy's Cody Sanders.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...