Only one can win it.
North Hall coach Trevor Flow reiterated that fact Tuesday night as his team walked off the field for the final time in 2019.
On Tuesday, the Trojans were swept out of the best-of-three state semifinal series against Pace Academy, losing the first game 9-1 and Game 2, 8-4.
“(In a few days) we’re going to look back and say, ‘Wow, look at what we’ve accomplished,” Flow said. “This was a miraculous season. It might not feel good right now, but at the end of it, they’re going to be proud of what they did. The (seniors) left the program better than they found it, which is what I asked them to do.”
Seniors Caleb Clark and Kelton Kieschnick have been cornerstones of North Hall baseball throughout their four-year careers. Both tasted championship royalty in 2017 when North Hall won its first state title in program history. But the encapsulation of all four years have made their time at North Hall all the more special.
“All four years here have been amazing,” Kieschnick said. “Every time I was here, I knew my coaches and teammates loved me. They were giving their all for me, so I just gave my all for them. Everyday it was an amazing experience to come out and play on that field and practice any day.”
But they will stand out specifically well because of the relationships made in the midst of a season full of adversity.
“It’s been a wild ride. It’s pretty depressing that it had to end like this tonight, but I wouldn’t change it for anything else, especially the teammates that I have,” Clark said while fighting back tears. “The memories I’ve made, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”
After a frustrating series opener, North Hall was looking for some momentum, which Clark provided with a leadoff double. However, the Trojans loaded the bases in the first inning without scratching out any runs.
Jackson Dyer, the starting pitcher in Game 2, singled in Tyler Brooks in the third inning, and Clark tripled home Dylan Wiley to take a 2-1 lead. Brooks tacked on an insurance run with a sacrifice fly.
North Hall mustered up one more run with one out remaining in the nightcap, but the deficit was too deep to climb out of.
“We played poorly at times against a team that you can’t play poorly against,” Flow said. “At this level, you’ve got to play pretty good baseball, and we just did not.
“But I’m proud of them.”
Each senior stayed behind where the post-game huddle was held. One-by-one, they wiped away tears and embraced each coach — some for a significant amount of time. Their genuine emotions depicted how strong the bond had become.
Kieschnick described it best.
“I’ve made bonds with these guys that I will never forget,” he said. “I won’t remember every play. I’ll just remember the times we’ve spent together.”