Jody Kane knew this baseball season wasn’t going to be about wins and losses.
When the Greensville County School Board voted to approve the spring sports season on April 12, the Greensville County High School baseball team was without a coach and its two returning star players.
Kane stepped into the role of head coach with only a few weeks’ notice. He knew he had his work cut out for him – not to go out and win games, but just to put a full team on the field.
“[The season] was about putting a team together,” Kane said. “We started out with nine, ended up with 10 players that were able to get out on the field and learn a lot about baseball.”
The Eagles finished the shortened season with a record of 2-5, good for 10th place of 11 teams in the region. Both wins came against Franklin High School. The second victory was a hard fought, high scoring contest on the road at Franklin on May 28, which saw the Eagles power their way to a 19-9 victory.
The GCHS team consisted of players from all four grades and a large range of experience levels. Most players on the team had never played varsity baseball before. Kane said his more experienced players were more than willing to teach and help the younger players in areas where they needed improvement.
Pitching, for instance, was a huge challenge for the Eagles this season. Senior Omarrion Jones did the bulk of the work from the mound, with junior Robert Lucas and freshman Ty White stepping it at times to help out, along with some others.
Assistant coach Okor Akaronu and 2020 GCHS grad Carter White helped Kane with the team this season. White played baseball at GCHS, but was unable to play his senior season due to COVID-19. Kane said the short season offered each player and member of the coaching staff an opportunity to grow and help out in new ways.
One of the biggest tenants of the game Kane tried to instill in his players was knowing their role on the team. He said he was blown away to see young, less experienced players asking for chances to do some things they had never done before, like pitch and play catcher.
“The kids had an opportunity to learn baseball, grow some friendships, and learn how to be a team,” Kane said.
Kane said he saw relationships developing throughout the season. The team dined together in Franklin after their final victory of the season. Following a 31-4 defeat at the hands, Kane was impressed by the way the team kept their heads up and enjoyed each other’s company at the postgame meal.
Part of the agreement with the School Board to hold a spring sports season was for student athletes to be tested for COVID-19. GCHS was only one of the only schools in the state of Virginia who tested student athletes for COVID-19 regularly throughout the season. Students received rapid tests on Mondays, and mitigations measures were taken if a student was exposed to someone who had tested positive for the virus.