MATTHEWS, N.C. (WBTV) - The crack of baseball bats are back as the Charlotte High School Baseball Extended Season is in full swing.
The league was started by a few fathers of high school seniors who seasons were cut short due to the pandemic.
“I saw the tears in my son’s eyes the night that his coach told him we’re done,” said Tripp Roakes. I still to this day don’t know if he and the other kids have truly recovered from that. You had school taken away. You had baseball taken away. You had friends taken away. These kids took a big blow.”
Roakes, Carmel Christian head coach Chris Manriquez, as well as Charlotte Christian coach Rick Suarez put together a league of 6 teams with players from 15 schools in our area. And while this won’t make up for the seasons that ware taken away, the chances to play for state championships, the chance to get recruited, this is at least a chance to once again step on the baseball diamond with friends and competitors.
“We just decided we are not done,” said Roakes. “This is for the seniors. We didn’t want them going out without being able to say goodbye to all their teammates.”
“It’s been very humbling,” said Carmel Christian player Lucas Martino. “You usually get caught up in the everyday life and you take for granted getting up and going to work out in the gym or going to hit in a facility. You don’t really notice that until it is taken away from you. It’s been an experience where I will not take my normal life for granted.”
Martino just recently graduated from Carmel Christian and will play baseball in college at UNC-Charlotte.
On July 9th, the league will hold an All-Star game at Truist Field... the home of the Charlotte Knights. The 40 seniors in the league will play in this game on a pretty big stage. Surely a day they will never forget in a year that certainly left a mark on all of them as well.
“For these kids that are getting ready to take off for college, it gives a little bit back,” said Roakes. “That’s all we wanted to do. We can never replace what was taken away from them. We can sure enough try as much as we can to give back.”