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Napoleon High School senior Tyler Owen takes a look at a pitch during a non-conference game in 2019. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

(April 24, 2020 8:36 PM) Napoleon High School senior Tyler Owen said that sports helps you get through life.

That will come in handy these days.

Owen is one of many high school seniors who had his/her career and season cut short due to the coronavirus. School was postponed in March and finally canceled in early April. The Michigan High School Athletic Association canceled all winter tournaments and spring sports a couple of days later.

In March, Owen was a day away from joining his varsity basketball team in an MHSAA Division 3 district final at Stockbridge against Leslie.

He was a week away from starting practice for his favorite sport – baseball – prior to the cancelation of the season by the MHSAA.

“I thought it was going to be a short cancelation and then everything would be okay,” Owen said. “At first it was hard to believe we were going to lose our senior season of baseball.”

Owen was part of one of Napoleon’s best baseball teams of all time as a junior. The Pirates went 26-4 overall, won 13-of-14 games in the Cascades Conference, and earned its third consecutive conference title in 2019.

The Pirates had 10 seniors on that team.

“It was fun to see the way I performed last season,” Owen said. “For one season I enjoyed a lot of varsity moments.”

NHS head baseball Coach Jeff Mohr called Owen a quiet leader for the Pirates.

“Other kids followed him because they saw his positive attitude, great work ethic, and his love of the game,” Mohr said. “I hated to see someone like that lose their senior season.”

Owen batted .444 for the Pirates in 2019, had an on-base-percentage of nearly .500, and scored 33 runs.

The senior said he had plenty of opportunities to play Division 3 baseball, but chose to join the Army National Guard in January. He will head to basic training in August at Fort Jackson in South Carolina for 10 weeks. Owen said he will train for seven weeks as in carpentry – his Army job – and attend Jackson College next winter.

“I already have 24 credit hours at JC through on-line dual-enrollment classes,” Owen said.

The Army will pay for his schooling and Owen plans to transfer to Michigan State University in the fall 0f 2021.

“I would like to study to become a conservation officer,” Owen said of his future plans.

But the senior will remember his days on the football field, basketball court, and baseball diamond.

“Sports teaches you to be able to get over obstacles in life,” Owen said. “It helps you get through things.”

He will graduate NHS with a gpa of 3.9 – on a 4.0 scale.

Napoleon High School senior Tyler Owen catches a pop up during a non-conference game in 2019. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

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