El Dorado baseball honor seniors in home finale

Lionel Tipton

EL DORADO, Kansas—El Dorado didn’t have much to celebrate on the scoreboard Thursday in its baseball doubleheader against McPherson.

But the Wildcats and their fans had plenty to celebrate as they honored the three seniors from the Class of 2021.

On the field, league-leading McPherson wrapped up the AVCTL Division III title after an 8-1 victory in the opener. For good measure, the Bullpups (17-3, 9-1) completed the sweep with a 14-1 romp in the second game.

But this was about more than baseball.

Between games, seniors Draven Fowler, Jett Roberts and Caleb Winter were honored.

Roberts’ celebration spilled over into the nightcap, as he caught the first pitch from Fowler, then left the game. He was on crutches and hadn’t played since suffering a broken hip May 3 at Rose Hill.

The compliments flowed from Wildcats coach Adam McCormick on what these three have meant to the team.

“Draven, Jett and Caleb mean a lot,” he said. “They put in work every day. They’ve done everything I’ve asked. They’ve come out; they’ve competed.

“Some of them have been in different roles. Jett had many different hats this year before his injury. Losing him really hurt us. He’s one of our top hitters, and he was swinging (the bat) really well. He can catch; he can pitch; play the outfield; play first (base).” 

McCormick said he has had consistent performances from all three.

“Our seniors have been great for us this year,” he said. “They show guys the way we do things. Caleb and Jett played for me last summer (and) Draven came and filled in whenever his travel team didn’t have a game.”

And that has helped their overall games, McCormick said.

“They were learning and growing,” he said. “(There are) a lot of little things that we need to work on, and those three just kept working all year long for us. When Jett broke his hip, it took something out of us, and we really haven’t fully recovered yet. 

“We’ve had a tough six-game stretch. Caleb and Draven … they’ve battled every night they go up there on the mound. Day in and day out, they give us a chance to win. (The three) have been guys that our younger group can look to for hard work and some determination.”

The responsibility of serving as a role model encompasses a lot, McCormick said.

“With those three, it’s always ‘team first,’ it’s never ‘I first,’” he said. “That’s something that we preach here. It’s not about ‘me;’ it’s about everyone. 

“They’re just the first step of this building block, and (if) we continue to build and continue to progress the way we as a coaching staff we know we can.

“We can get to a level we want to, and those guys will be a major part of that because they started it for us.”

Sophomore third baseman Drew Veatch was the only Wildcat with more than one hit, getting two singles in his first two plate appearances in the opener. He came around to score El Dorado’s only run in that game.

Currently, Fowler and Winter are considering some offers they’ve received, McCormick said. 

“Caleb and Draven are getting looks (from colleges),” he said. “Caleb has one offer. They just haven’t got an offer to sign just yet.

Once he heals, Roberts, on the other hand, will be going a different direction in college.

“Jett is going to go to Allen County (Community College) and be their goalie,” McCormick said. “Jett’s a very good goalie, so he’s going to go on and continue his soccer career.”