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Baseball’s back, Bolivar

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Incoming senior Bo Banner pitches during the first inning of a Bolivar High School 17-and-under team doubleheader.

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For the first time since its boys basketball team played in the Class 4 District 11 championship game more than three months ago, a Bolivar High School team took to the playing field Wednesday, June 10.

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Bolivar High School baseball 2020 seniors celebrate senior night with their families Wednesday.

After taking time to honor its seniors who missed the opportunity to play this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Liberator baseball’s 17-and-under team earned a pair of wins in a doubleheader over a homeschool league team Wednesday. 

The Liberators struck early in game one, surging to a lead on two four-run innings to eventually win 9-0. 

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Heath Robertson bumps helmets with a teammate following a run Wednesday. 

In game two, Bolivar first fell behind, with its homeschool opponent jumping ahead 3-1 in the top of the third inning, before the Liberators poured in seven runs in the bottom of the inning. Bolivar won 8-4.

Rather than play as varsity and junior varsity teams, Bolivar coach Brad Roweton said his squad will compete this summer as a 17-and-under team and a 14-and-under team. The 14-and-under team played on the road Wednesday. 

“It was the first outing of the season,” Roweton said. “You’re never perfect in baseball, and we showed some jitters from being gone so long, but I was proud of the way we played. I thought we looked like a pretty good unit.”

Roweton said the squad had about two weeks of practice leading into Wednesday’s game. 

“These guys have shown a lot of character just getting up and practicing every morning for two weeks.”

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Bolivar coach Brad Roweton talks it out on the mound with pitcher Isaac Jenkins.

That character was also on display in Wednesday’s contests. 

“Tonight, after handling them pretty easy in the first game, we fell behind 3-1 and had some young kids show some jitters. We showed a lot of moxie by saying, ‘Hey, it’s 3-1. No big deal,’’’ Roweton said Wednesday. “We just came out and put some runs on the board.”

Roweton said without the team’s 2020 seniors, who declined to play this summer, that leadership had to come from within. 

“Before this summer season started, I asked (the seniors) if they wanted to play, but I also asked them, ‘What happens if you get injured?’” Roweton said. “Several are going on to play in college. Others aren’t. So, ‘Who would you be playing for this summer?’”

Roweton said the group made the choice not to play. 

Before the first game, each took the field one last time for a senior night celebration. 

“Gentlemen, you are champions,” Roweton said in prepared remarks for the presentation. “Every organization, every group and every team you have been a part of has excelled because you made them better. Things have not always been easy for you, but just like this crisis, when things got tough, you kept a positive attitude and went to work. That is why you are champions, and we thank you for making Bolivar a better place.”

The 17-and-under Liberators played Marionville on Thursday, June 11. Bolivar next plays at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, in Stockton.  

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BHS 2020 senior Cooper Hitchcock exchanges greetings with his teammates following senior night festivities Wednesday. 

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