PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - The Prattville Christian baseball team had a nearly spotless start to the 2020 season.
"We were ranked, we were 8-2, we were playing real well and we were excited about the upcoming region play," said head coach Tommy Goodson.
And then, like every other high school around the state, the Panthers’ baseball season was canceled, handing the seniors an abrupt end to their careers.
“We found out that our season was canceled, and it was pretty sad, but I was at the lake, so it kinda evened out,” said senior third baseman and pitcher Reese Starns. “But then the next day, it kinda kicked in, and it was pretty sad. It was tough for me because we were doing really good this season rebuilding the program and just making PCA baseball better than what it was.”
"They were having a great season, so I hate it for them cause they really had things going in their way," added Goodson. "But that's happened to everybody. There's so many people who have stories and disappointments, but somewhere down the line, the silver lining will come on in all of this, and things will be better, I'm sure it will be."
Wanting to honor them, the first year head coach decided to pay tribute to his five veteran players by painting their numbers on the field.
"They needed something. They needed some closure and if we had been playing every day, we would have done that anyway, but we got the numbers down, and I was glad to do it," said Goodson.
"That was a surprise - his painting skills are pretty good I see. It was a nice surprise, we all got the text message and saw it on social media," said Starns. "He did that for us, and it was really nice of him."
Although it's just a little paint, Starns says it makes it easier to deal with the reality of the shortened season.
"The last time I walked off the field, I hit a walk-off, so it helps a little bit that that was my last game, but it's also tough. I mean coming back here seeing everything," he said. "Just the memories, all the hard work put in out here, but it makes me feel real good, and it shows how PCA cares for all the student athletes and the students and it shows how welcoming of a family they are."
While Goodson's first year at the helm also came to unexpected close, he says he's thankful for the legacy the Class of 2020 leaves behind.
“They were all in 100 percent. They never caused a problem, if I needed something done, I went to them, and they stepped up to the plate every single time, and I was proud of them for doing that,” he said.
You can find the five numbers surrounding home plate.