The COVID-19 pandemic has affected campus tremendously in many different aspects. What a lot of people do not realize is how much the virus and its mutating strains can affect the sports teams on campus. The HLGU Trojans’ baseball team is one of many sports teams which have been affected by the Coronavirus the past couple semesters; needless to say, it has not been an easy ride for the Trojans’ baseball squad in 2021. Due to the numerous amounts of players, contrasted from that of other sports teams here on campus, it makes it more difficult for the baseball team to avoid exposure to the virus. That being said, the HLGU Trojans’ baseball team has been hit quite hard with the virus at certain times over the course of the past 2 semesters. Some teams on campus have been noted to quarantine all together, including the men’s JV basketball team and the women’s soccer team. For the HLGU baseball squad, it has been a blessing from God that the team has not had as many positive COVID-19 cases with the greatest number of players of any sports team here on campus, likely due to the safety precautions the coaches and players abide by during the past 2 semesters. Head coach Ben Strother and assistant coaches Martin Sartin and Charles Rapp have dedicated themselves every day, despite the hardships of the Coronavirus, to make this ’20-’21 season work. Each coach has been quarantined at least once since the beginning of the fall semester of 2020.
As with every college sports team, players come and go, and at HLGU, they take the morals the university has put upon them. Just like every child of God has a specific purpose in life, each player on a team has a purpose and a role which they provide to their counterparts. Some of those players that graduated last Spring unfortunately did not get the opportunity to play their last full season of baseball – the game they have been practicing for years every single day to get to this point in college baseball. One of the players we will be saying farewell to is Jorden (June) Billings, and there is no question that he has been the leader of the Varsity pitching staff for the past couple years here at HLGU.
“I’m excited for this year. I believe we have a lot of guys that will contribute to the team in a big way. The Coronavirus has set us back more than we typically would be in a normal year, however, we are dealing with the adversity quite well. We are really excited to get the season started off in Kansas City, KS next Saturday,” said Trojans’ ace Jorden Billings.
Billings will be heading into the field of conservation after he graduates from HLGU. Billings has played for the Trojans the past couple of years and has posted one of the best outings from a Trojan, notably for the Trojans’ win against Freed-Hardeman (ranked #8 nationally in NAIA) in the Spring of 2020.
The Trojans’ Varsity squad will be starting their season off in Kansas City next Saturday the 27th in Kansas City, KS against the University of St. Mary. The Trojans will be playing a doubleheader. The Trojans are also expected to play at home soon, however with all of the recent snow, that is still to be determined. The Trojans’ JV squad is expected to start their season after Spring Break against John Wood Community College with a doubleheader, which is comprised of two 7-inning games, rather than the standard 9 innings.
- Cade Slaughter / February 2021