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Sideline Scene
West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, May 4, 2017 1 year ago

Sideline Scene: Foundation, Jones High work together for Senior Night save -- Observer Preps

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One example of what's great about high school sports.
by: Steven Ryzewski Senior Sports Editor

The following is a small example of what is cool about high-school sports.

The story starts with a call from the Jones High athletic director to David Baginski, the athletic director for Foundation Academy, the morning of April 18.

Steven Ryzewski

The Foundation softball team was to host Jones on its Senior Night that night. Unfortunately, a wave of injuries had brought the Lady Tigers’ numbers down to just seven available players — short of the number needed to play a regulation game.

The two programs have a budding relationship, having scheduled games against one another the past few seasons, so Baginski asked for a favor. Instead of canceling the game — and the Senior Night festivities for the Lady Lions — perhaps Foundation could instead lend some of its girls to the Jones team so they could get the game in, even if it would not be an official game.

You see, of the five seniors on the Foundation softball team, a few also had played for the school’s soccer team. That Senior Night had been canceled, and the girls had to have their ceremony before the start of a boys soccer game. So, with that in mind, Baginski and softball head coach Randy Ames were determined to try and make the game happen.

The athletic director from Jones High agreed, and so the seven girls from Jones and their coaches arrived that afternoon for a ballgame. Upon arrival, though, the umpire crew that was to call the game let the coaches know that it wasn’t so much that they wouldn’t call an unofficial game — but that they couldn’t. On top of that, of the girls Jones had lost to injury, their pitcher was among them.

Having an inexperienced pitcher on the mound without an umpire to call balls and strikes could be a dicey proposition, but that’s when Ames had a lightbulb go off in his head: They needed to play a game, but maybe it didn’t have to be softball.

Ames gathered his seniors together and laid out a proposition: How about we play kickball?

The response was an enthusiastic affirmation, and that’s just what happened. A couple girls for Foundation joined the Jones side, and the two teams played a game of kickball. Before the game, the five seniors for Foundation got their Senior Night ceremony.

And, to top it all off, the girls for both teams had fun — and made some new friends.

“At the end of the game they were exchanging Twitter and other social networking … they made some friends out of it. They’re five great kids. They were just happy to be able to do something.”

— Randy Ames, head coach

“It was cool,” Ames said. “At the end of the game they were exchanging Twitter and other social networking … they made some friends out of it. They’re five great kids. They were just happy to be able to do something.”

For Baginski, not only was it a win for the girls to have been able to have had their senior night, but also it was an example of the school’s students handling a little bit of adversity in a positive manner.

“They chose to step up and make the best of it and really pull out a really fun night,” Baginski said. “(Senior Night is part of) the high-school experience … we want to make sure that we’re doing our best to give them the experience that every kid deserves to have. Now, they can look back on it and have pictures and memories of it.”

The Lady Lions’ season ended last week in their district tournament, but for the team’s five seniors, they always will have their memory of the time they played Jones High in a roaring game of kickball.

Steven Ryzewski is the Senior Sports Editor for ObserverPreps.com, as well as all three of Observer Media Group's print publications in Orange County. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida....

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