UNION, Ky - They were days away from a lifetime of memories. The season couldn’t there fast enough for the eight seniors on Ryle’s baseball team.
It never came. COVID-19 cancelled the Raiders 2020 season.
“We got five innings of a scrimmage in, we were supposed to start that Monday and it was over,” Ryle head baseball coach Joe Aylor said. “Collecting the jerseys that they didn’t get to wear, just seeing he psychological effect on them. They didn’t get to finish what they started.”
The first-year varsity head coach didn’t want his first senior class to bury their feelings. He had another idea.
While the field was renovated, the eight seniors all signed their names on a ball which was then buried under home plate.
“It was a way to vent after losing their season. Always connected to the program,” Aylor said.
“As I distance myself from that day, it’s cool looking at home plate and all us seniors got to bury a ball under home plate and we’ll always a part of the field and program itself,” David Kennicott, one of those eight seniors said.
That funereal act wasn’t all. Aylor, or rather his father, helped give the eight a lifelong bond with the program.
Aylor’s father is a cafeteria worker for the school and ordered a plaque commemorating the seniors without a senior season.
“We’re a part of every run scored and that’s special,” Alex Pergram, another graduated senior said. “I’m glad our coach gave us an opportunity to be a part of Ryle besides high school.”
A tweet from the Ryle baseball account showing the plaque has gone viral – more than 44 thousand have “liked” the tweet.
Those eight players may be gone, but they’ll never be forgotten.
“It’s a testament to what was missed by cancelling the season,” Aylor said. “Think it’s just a season but it’s a lot more than that when talking about kids.”