By Leah Sintic
Just like everything else, the athletic realm doesn’t look like it should at this time of year, with
unseasonably warm spring temperatures making for perfect outdoor conditions, and yet the fields
remain unnaturally empty.
For baseball players at MCCS, the state mandated school closures and social distancing
regulations couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time, just days before official competition
was slated to begin for their 2020 season.
“We have been working extremely hard, and the guys have put a lot of time and energy into
preparing for this season,” explained Jim Sintic, who had expected to be well into his 12 th season
as head baseball coach by now. “I’ve certainly learned a lot about myself and being patient while
relying on God’s timing.”
Coming off a successful 2019 season that included a CCAC playoff championship and a 13-5
overall season record, the team had hoped to extend and add to those accomplishments in 2020.
“There was a great deal of anticipation coming into this season,” Coach Sintic went on to say,
acknowledging that they have all needed to work through disappointment as it became clear the
season would not take place.
“It’s been challenging at times to help my players find the value in this situation while trying to work
through those emotions myself,” Coach Sintic added. “Ultimately, God’s plan is perfect. We may
never fully understand it, but we can rest assured that His will is being done.”
Perhaps feeling the pain of the loss even more sharply, are the teams three seniors, Dakota Lamb,
Jonah Rutt and Danny Smullen who are faced with the end of an era and are grappling with the
emotions from such an unexpected loss.
Dakota and Jonah are both four-year players, and Danny would have been entering his third year
on the Charger roster, each bringing their own set of unique contributions to the team dynamic,
and each one having to watch the days pass in a manner no one would have chosen.
Dakota, the Charger catcher, has been an anchor for the club, contributing top four stats in every
offensive category during each of his past three seasons. A leader on and off the field, Coach
Sintic described Dakota’s game as “highly skilled behind the plate and calls a great game.”
Reflecting on his experiences on the team, the two-year team captain verbalized what many are
“I was very much looking forward to this season, and now I realize I may have taken it for granted,”
Dakota stated, going on to elaborate on other lessons he has gained, “Failure happens, and you
will be disappointed, but there will also be times when you succeed. All the times you fail just make
the feeling of success that much better.”
Jonah Rutt, an outfielder, also provided great perspective on what the game of baseball has taught
him, “Baseball has taught me hard work and dedication,” Rutt described, “I try my best to stick with
it and not give up—I just keep working.”
Coach Sintic affirmed Jonah’s comments, referring to Jonah’s stability as a huge asset to the
Charger team—one that will be difficult to replace. “Jonah is a great team player that cares about
the team’s success even more than his own.”
When describing Danny Smullen, Coach Sintic said, “Danny has been a quiet leader on our team,
leading by example with a great attitude and sense of humor, and his hard work has been evident
as he has developed as a player.”
Danny regarded his time on the field as a way to grow in character and skills that will prove to be
valuable far beyond high school. “One thing I have learned from baseball is how to be teachable,”
summarized Danny. “Baseball is hard if you’re not good at it, but it is much harder if you’re not
willing to learn how to get better at it.”
The baseball team was not alone in having spring athletic aspirations. Another two MCCS seniors,
Kenzie Baughman and Lily Schaeffer, had both planned to participate in Mount Calvary’s
cooperative Track and Field program with Elizabethtown Area High School.
Both Lily and Kenzie transferred to Mount Calvary for their senior year, and despite the unexpected
shortness of the academic year, the school and class of 2020 benefited from the new additions.
“I am very thankful that the Lord brought me to Mount Calvary for my senior year,” noted Kenzie, “It
has been a memorable year even though it was cut short.”
Kenzie was looking forward to even more new relationships as she anticipated her time on the
Track team, expecting to compete in hurdles, sprints and jump events. Having been a part of track
programs since middle school, this isn’t the first season Kenzie has had to face missing out, as
ACL surgery forced her to sit out her junior season as well. Yet the senior has chosen to focus on
the positives of her experiences, still referring to the year as, “the best senior year that I could have
Fellow athlete, Lily Schaeffer, also had high hopes for the season, aiming to break records in
javelin; something she has done in the past while competing at a previous school.
“The Lord really does work in mysterious ways, and I believe that we are supposed to follow Him
no matter what,” Lily reflected choosing to view this uncertain time as an opportunity to draw closer
to the Lord, “[He is] showing us his power and goodness through this awful time,” she added.
In conjunction with the overall school mission to prepare students to “be faithful and mature
followers of Christ”, the athletic programs exist as an additional avenue to “serve the Lord with
excellence” but this season, that looks completely different and is requiring a sacrifice as the
athletes are met with the challenge to grow their character in the absence of a sport they love.
It would be easy to allow discouragement to creep in and overwhelm this season of life, but
Scripture consistently exhorts followers of Christ to view circumstances through a lens that does
not come naturally.
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many
kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance
finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
So, while the spring of 2020 may end up being the ‘athletic season that never happened,’ it will
also be a season of far-reaching effects and seeing God work in unexpected ways.