Heartbreaking Loss Caps off Amazing Season from the 8th Grade Baseball Team


Locke Patton

This season, the 8th grade baseball team came up just short in the championship game. But, this heartbreaking loss doesn’t change the fact that they had a great season with some amazing accomplishments along the way.

The team got off to a slow start, and COVID had a major part in it. “It has been the most difficult season we have had because of COVID and safety guidelines.” says the Head Coach, Matt Sottnick. “We have had to limit signs and plays. We have also had less practice time. This also caused 80 to 90 percent of our focus this year to be on safety measures.”

Towards the end of the year, the team completely turned things around. They went into the playoffs as a 9 seed with a 3-5-2 record. They had a tough first game matchup against our rivals, the Lovett Lions. They ended up winning in a close game 6-5. Their next game was against Marist. Marist was the 1 seed, and Westminster had never beaten Marist since Sottnick took the Head Coach job 10 years ago. This year, that streak ended. “It was the most fun I have ever had at a game in all of my coaching at Westminster. There was not a single dull moment throughout the whole game,” says Sottnick.

Not only did the team have an amazing season, they have a bright future as well. “The sky’s the limit for these guys. The potential is off the roof and I can’t wait to see how they turn out as a team.” says Assistant Coach Jaron Neal. “This team has a lot of personality. Our coaching staff was blessed with players who are knowledgeable about the game and love to play. They pulled for each other no matter who was on the mound, at the plate or in the field”, Jaron Neal continues.

This year’s players had some things to say about their brotherhood and friendships. “The Ball Club was a family; we all were a unit and everybody wanted to win,” says their starting first basemen, Stan Watkins. “In the beginning of the year we were trying to find our way, but we got on track and found it at the right time for the playoffs” Stan continues. Stan had a huge part in the teams success because of his inspiring speeches and willingness to win.

The team also benefited in leadership from Jack Schwartz. A player that had a huge part in the teams success. All though Jack was hurt for most of the year, he was a great leader in the dugout. He also saw how the team battled from a different point of view. “It was the mentality by far. The look in people’s eyes.” says Schwartz. “From the 2nd Lovett game (first round of playoffs) on, the way the team prepared the night before and when we got there, we had already won the mental game. We had Marist and St. Martins beat before we showed up to the field. We just wanted it more. The music before the games pumped us up and we were ready to go,” continues Jack.

Despite the team coming up just short this season, they had a great season and battled all year long.