The stolen season: High school ballplayers look at the season that could have been

Most high school athletes usually cherish this part of the year: they get their final chance at bringing home a championship while prom and grad bash loom right around the corner. But not this year.

Stranahan High School’s baseball team was off to a great start with a 5-2 record, outscoring opponents 73 to 17. The Mighty Dragons were set to play at Piper High School on March 30, but the season ground to a halt.

Senior Martin Stroemer pitched a seven-inning game on Feb. 19 against Plantation High School, but only got one more start — a two-inning, five strikeout outing against Boyd Anderson High School.

He said he felt the coronavirus had stolen the team’s best shot to win a championship. Teammate Vaughn Victor agreed. Though Stroemer has verbally committed to play baseball for Thomas College in Maine, Victor said he was relying on the current season to show college coaches he was ready to play at the next level.

Of the 10 remaining games on their schedule, the Mighty Dragons already had victories over five of their opponents. They would also get the chance to avenge their loss against Fort Lauderdale High School.

Stroemer said the pandemic snatched two of his dreams away: being able to win a district title and the chance to walk across the stage at graduation.

“Losing the opportunity to walk across that stage and grab my diploma as my family cheered me on was something I’ve dreamed about for basically my entire life,” he said.

Victor said he continues to work on his craft, but it’s difficult.

“With this new distance learning I’ve really had time to work on baseball, but I lack the equipment I need to really put the work in,” he said, adding he’s doing his best.

Junior Ethan Garcia said he really feels for the seniors on the team.

“I felt terrible when I got the news our season was being delayed,” he said. “This was supposed to be the seniors’ year to shine and that got taken away from them.”

Still, Stroemer said the friends and memories he made during his time on the team can’t be taken away.

“Although the season came to an end, the boys will always be in my heart as well as the memories I made with all of them.”

Michael Garcia is currently a journalism major at Florida International University (FIU) in his senior year. He is the Vice President and co-founder of the Modern Sports Media Group LLC. In addition to behind the scenes and everyday management of Modern Sports Media Group, he is the co-host of the Nothin’ But Net show and The Get in The Box podcast, both of which are Modern Sports Media productions. Sports are his biggest focus and a large reason for selecting his FIU major and career path.