Though the 2019 baseball and softball seasons have wrapped up for the year, twenty-three high school athletes from Muscatine County had the opportunity to play one last time before moving on to the next chapter of their lives. At the Senior All Star Game, these players, along with athletes from other regional high schools, had a final chance to play together and celebrate their love of the game.
For the last thirteen years, seniors in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference (SEISC) and the River Valley Conference (RVC) have played each other at the Senior All Star Game. A unique opportunity, baseball and softball coaches from all the schools in each conference get in touch with their senior players and invite anyone available to compete in the game. On the night of the Senior All Star Game, seniors meet at a regional school and face off in a fun last game. Coached by a selection of coaches from throughout each conference, this lighthearted farewell to high school play provides a wonderful sendoff for this group of seniors.
More than just a way to say goodbye to an outbound group of athletes, the Senior All Star Game also allowed players who have competed against each other (and oftentimes become friends) to enjoy a special night of solidarity. As Casey Cantrell, Head Baseball Coach at Louisa-Muscatine Junior-Senior High School put it, “it’s amazing to see [the athletes] compete against each other all season and then to see them come together for this game. . .. Most of the kids have known each other and are friends already [so] it’s a good bonding experience.”
Student athletes noticed this unity too. Louisa-Muscatine Junior-Senior High School softball player Katie Hearn shared, “the SEISC senior team had some sort of bond we never thought we would’ve had. We have a lot of pride for our schools and wanted to represent our conference the best way possible, by just simply playing with that love of the game. We had fun, laughed, tried new things, and left it all out on the field, together.”
With a healthy number of seniors playing in the Senior All Star Game this year, both the baseball and softball teams played double headers to ensure everyone got their time in the spotlight. For the baseball teams, the SEISC beat the RVC 2-0 in the first game. However, the RVC came roaring back in the second game, winning 4-1. In softball, the first game ended in a 4-4 tie, while the RVC proved victorious in the second one, scoring an impressive nine unanswered runs to beat the SEISC.
Each year, the Senior All Star Game provides a strong conclusion to many Muscatine County baseball and softball player’s high school experiences. In this single evening of play, the Senior All Star Game showcases both the skills of Muscatine County’s senior players, and the deep bond that forms between them and other players in the region. As this tradition continues, it will continue to honor players’ achievements and celebrate the strengths of Muscatine County’s high school baseball and softball programs.