Play ball!


Zion Brown, sports editor

Ben Davis begins their long-awaited 2021 baseball season at home tonight against Roncalli. The Giants are coming off of a 5-19 season in 2019. The high school season was then canceled in 2020, a season the team felt very confident about.

At the same time, the girls softball team will makes its home debut with new coach Danny Kollada on the field just south of the baseball complex. The girls softball team was 3-16 two years ago and also missed last year due to Covid. The girls feature one of the state’s top juniors in shortstop Kansas Robinson.

“We felt like we had a really strong team last year that, with a good sectional draw, could have made a run in the tournament,” said assistant varsity baseball coach Kyle Cox. “Losing the season, especially when you think you’ll be good, is tough.” 

“It hit us really hard to not be able to play together last year,” said senior pitcher and infielder JP Nichols. “I think we all really felt like we could’ve really gone far.”

Nichols will be one of the premier pitchers for the Giants this season after pitching only 14.2 total innings as a sophomore in 2019.

Nichols notes the difficulty of transitioning from an underclassman to a senior leader with no games in between, saying, “It is sort of hard, but it’s also sort of fun because it’s this new experience that I’m learning with all the younger kids at the same time.”

There’s lots of elation surrounding this year’s squad overall.

“Everyone is genuinely excited to just be out there playing baseball,” Cox said. “Obviously everyone wants to play and compete hard, but there is real joy and support for each other.”

“There’s just so much more comradery on the school team than there will ever be on our summer teams,” said Nichols. Nichols is one of 12 seniors on this year’s roster, as the team has lost 11 overall players who were juniors and seniors in 2019. 

Just like in other sports, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected BD’s preparation for the season.

“Trying to function in a limited space with limited time while socially distancing is hard,” said Coach Cox. “At times, I’ve felt like I’ve done a disservice to the kids, but they’ve rolled with all the challenges.”

The Giants will have four games this week as they’ll play at Southport on Thursday, at Covenant Christian on Friday, and at home against Cathedral on Saturday afternoon. This will go along with tonight’s season opener. It’s been two years since anyone has been on the high school field, so there is a lot left unknown about this upcoming season. No matter what happens, it’s safe to say that all teams, including Ben Davis, will just be grateful to be out there competing. 

This is a busy week for spring sports. In addition to tonight’s two home openers, the girls track team debuts at home against Lawrence Central and North Central and the boys track team runs at Lawrence North in a meet that also includes North Central.