Marshall senior Payton McMullen has a greater appreciation for the game of baseball now that it’s currently gone.
“You never know when something’s going to get cut short,” McMullen said. “Always give your all because it may be the last time you ever do something, you never know. The coaches always said that and in your mind, you’re like, ‘Yeah I believe that but I don’t think it’s going to happen,’ and it might actually happen this time. It’s kind of crazy.”
As of right now, the UIL has shut down all events until Monday, May 4, but there is a chance the Mavericks will play baseball after that date.
“I don’t know if we’ll play every game but they said they’re trying to adjust the schedule so we can still play,” McMullen added. “They said not to give up, so I’m not.”
“That’s built in to give us time to practice,” Marshall head baseball coach Derek Dunaway said. “Obviously we’re not just going to show back up and jump out there and play. So I think whenever school may open back up, middle of April, a couple weeks of practice, and then get creative with the district, maybe play a district tournament or something like that, then get your four teams that are going to the playoffs and start the playoffs.
“There’s still hope,” Dunaway added. “The UIL has done a good job of taking it day-by-day.”
McMullen said if the season returns, he’ll be thrilled to step back onto the field and won’t take it for granted.
“I’m going to give it everything I’ve got because after this, there’s definitely a chance it will be my last chance to play,” he said. “I want to play every game like it is my last game.”
The Mavericks played 13 games prior to its season getting cut short. In those 13 games, McMullen had a batting average of .333 with 11 hits, three walks and 10 RBI.
“He’s been around the program for a long time,” Dunaway said of McMullen. “His brother played for me. So even before he was in high school, he was around the game so he knew our expectations and how we did things right to win and he’s trying to carry that on. He really stepped up as a vocal leader this year.”
McMullen said his favorite MLB player to watch is Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees.
“Great catcher,” McMullen said of Sanchez. “I’ve been using a lot of his techniques this year to try and improve my catching game.”
During the unexpected break, McMullen said he’s been working hard to stay in baseball shape.
“Today I went out and played golf a little bit,” he said. “I’ve been throwing at my house about four times a week. I’m just trying to keep my arm in shape. We’re looking for somewhere to hit right now.”
If there’s any upside to the break, McMullen said it provides an opportunity to focus on individual areas of his game.
“It gives me a chance to work on my middle game,” he said. “The way we were going, we weren’t looking as great, the slope was going down, so you never know, maybe this might help us.”