Coming Up BIG by Blake Donels, Valor Baseball Class of 2017

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At the end of our 2015 baseball season at Valor, I was very disappointed that we didn’t compete as a team as well as could have.  We had a losing record and got beat the first game of the district playoffs. Now that I can look back at that season, I can tell you exactly why we played below what we were capable of.  We played for ourselves instead of the team.  We didn’t care about the team more than ourselves and we didn’t have a strong, tightly bound brotherhood.  I learned that it takes a brotherhood to COME UP BIG because having a brotherhood means loving each other and trusting each other through any situation that we may encounter together. Playing at Valor in 2016 is different. This year I have had the best time playing baseball that I have ever had.  During the district championship game verses Northridge High School, a very good team, it’s tied 6-6 in the 8th inning and it finally hit me that this game could be our last as a team.  As I ran out to left field during the top of the 8th inning, I had a quick conversation with God.  I said to Him, “Whatever you want to come out of this situation, I will give you all the glory for this season no matter how it turns out.”  I also knew that my team would also give all the glory to God for our successes up to this point, win or lose. Well, we got through the top of the 8th, allowing no runs to score.

Now it was our turn to win this game. Win the game now or play another inning.  With one out, Noah Kuzma drew a walk to get us a base runner.  He’s our catcher so Ryan Barber came in to courtesy run for him.  Coach Wahl gave me the bunt sign, and I was pretty surprised because it was only the second time all year he asked me to bunt.  Ball one.  On the second pitch I bunted the ball foul by a couple of inches.  On the next pitch I pulled back my bat on a pitch I should have easily been able to bunt down the first base line and move the runner into scoring position. Now the count was 1 and 2 and I told myself that no matter what the pitcher threw me, I needed to battle and do whatever I could to help the team win. The pitcher threw me a fastball right down the middle and I drove it to left center.  I didn’t realize that would win the game for us until I saw Coach Wahl waving Ryan Barber home for the winning run.  The next thing I knew, everyone was running out to the field and a huge dog pile was formed.  As we celebrated, time seemed to slow down. It was such once in a lifetime surreal moment.  It was awesome.

That night as I sat in my room, I thought to myself that I just happened to be in that position in the lineup at that particular time.  I know that all of my teammates would have come up big in the same way I did that day.  As a matter of fact, many of my teammates did!  My walk-off hit would not have happened without my teammates Erik Ohman and Sean Rooney coming up big the inning before to tie the game.  Then Luke Ziegler came back into the game and was clutch on the mound to keep the game tied. This team is special and we have a brotherhood that is almost unexplainable.  We trust each other so much to come up big all the time and most importantly we always give God all the glory.

The thing is, what I am explaining here isn’t just about coming up big on a baseball field.  Jesus is the greatest clutch player of all time. He came up BIG for us when he followed God and died on the cross. He didn’t want to die and he asked His father to spare him, but God still asked him to do what He didn’t want to.  He died for us. He is a true team player and that is what we have tried to be like this year, always love and trust each other in the brotherhood and sacrifice ourselves for one another.

Romans 12:10 - “Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.”