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Concord High School varsity baseball Coach Max Clark, right, congratulates a player after a win at Springport High School during the 2019 season.  Photo by  Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

Concord High School varsity baseball Coach Max Clark says high school sports provides a “tool box for life” for student-athletes for his football and baseball teams.

The box will be a little fuller when athletics – hopefully – returns to schools following the coronavirus pandemic this fall.

It may be just another lesson in life – learned off the field – for high school seniors.

Concord would have been attempting to win its 10th consecutive district title in baseball this spring. Clark said the district dominance was started by longtime Coach John Ropp.

“He started a tradition of taking the whole team to Florida to practice,” Clark said. “We went to Navarre Beach (in the Florida Panhandle) and had a lot of great parents who helped with the trip.

“It was a great bonding trip,” Clark said.

Clark said parents also played a role in the early years with student-athletes. Coaches at the Little League and other travel teams helped mold some good habits.

This year’s trip was canceled after travel restrictions and the closing of schools.

“Everything happened so quickly … but it didn’t take long to figure out what was going to happen,” Clark said. “I brought home all of the baseball equipment hoping we could practice, but that was also halted.”

Clark said four key seniors would be driving the Yellow Jackets this season. Brandon Kettwich would be the starting third baseman for Concord this season. He is a four-year varsity player for CHS.

Scott Spicer was expected to start at first base and Clark said he was expected to be the best hitter on the team. Clark noted Spicer is expected to be the class of 2020’s valedictorian.

Dane Funston was returning from injury and was expected to be a pitch for the Yellow Jackets.

McKinnley Mosher not only missed out on his senior baseball season, but was a member of Concord’s robotics team scheduled to make another appearance at the world competition.

Clark believes that when this is all sorted out, fans will notice a chance in some programs.

“The program with the highest character kids will do well,” Clark said. “Those athletes will be working out by themselves.

“I would like to think we will be one of those schools.”

Clark also works in the district and has received a number of text and email messages from students saying they missed going to school.

“I told most of them they probably never dreamed they would say that,” Clark said with a smile. “As coaches we tell our student-athletes to play like you are never going to play again.

“How real is that.”

The longtime football and baseball coach said high school athletics provides a tool box for those participating.

“High school sports are a metaphor for life … giving student-athletes a better tool box to handle situations in life,” Clark said. “This is something you hope never happens again.”

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