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Honoring seniors: Bears, Falcons, Patriots ready to take the field

Bill Althaus
William Chrisman catcher Billy Ross, left, tags out Van Horn runner Cooper Sumpter during a game last season at Roper Stadium in Sugar Creek. Ross is one of the seniors Chrisman will honor when it plays Van Horn and Truman at noon and 2 p.m. Saturday in a doubleheader.

Welcome to the new normal, when it comes to watching high school sports.

Truman, Van Horn and the host Chrisman Bears will participate in a doubleheader beginning at noon Saturday at Chrisman, where the Falcons will take on the host team in the first game and Noland Road rivals Truman and Chrisman will play at 2 p.m.

Fans are asked to bring their own chairs or blankets because the bleachers will be considered an extension of the dugout, where players from both teams must practice social distancing.

There will be no charge for the game and no concessions will be available.

“We’re thinking that everyone will be so excited to see some baseball they won’t really care about the bleachers being for the players,” Chrisman activities director Greg McGhee said. “We’re asking all the fans to sit six feet apart, although families can sit together. And they can sit on the hill or find a place to sit all around the stadium.”

The coaches – Chrisman’s Miles Shelton, Van Horn’s Jay Kolster and Truman’s Corey Lathrom – are getting accustomed to the new normal and just want the opportunity to see their kids play, especially their seniors.

“We have two seniors, Joey Johnson and Matt Davis, and we started coaching them in eighth grade,” Kolster said. “We figured it up the other day and they have played in about 200 games and they mean so much to our program.

“We’re thrilled that they are going to be able to play one more time in a Falcon uniform.”

Shelton felt the same way about his four seniors – Matt Miller, Billy Ross, Nathan Potts and Frankie Gervy.

“I love those guys and am thrilled they are going to be able to play one final time at Chrisman,” Shelton said. “They have meant so much to our program the past four years and now, they get to put that Bears uniform on one last time. I can’t wait – and I know they feel the same way.”

Lathrom is going to steal a page from the Bears’ playbook as the Patriots will honor their 13 seniors in a doubleheader at Truman at noon and 2 p.m. Monday against the Bears.

“We’re going to have our guys play catch with their dads,” Lathrom said. “I saw that Miles and his guys did that last year and we just had to steal it. What a great way for our seniors to participate in their last home game.”

Truman and Chrisman will play another doubleheader on Wednesday, July 1, starting at noon at Chrisman. Van Horn only had enough players for the one game Saturday.