Their 2020 season did not end with the envisioned playoff run that Tivy fans have become accustomed to, due to COVID-19, but three Antlers will still continue to play the game of baseball beyond their years wearing the Blue and Gold.
Colten Drake, Stoney Rhodes, and Cole Miears were a trio among five seniors who helped propel Tivy to 14-3-2, including 4-0 in District 26-5A before the UIL felt the need to postpone, then cancel high school sports across the state.
Fellow senor classmates Luke Hale and Cole Mixon were just preparing to get back on the field after being sidelined with injuries when things were scrapped.
Drake has signed to pitch for Blinn College, Rhodes will take his infield talents to New Mexico Junior College, and Miears is slated for infield duty at Clarendon College located in the Texas Panhandle.
Hale will be attending TCU in Fort Worth, while Mixon has been accepted to Mays School of Business which is part of Texas A&M University.
“Junior college ball is a good opportunity for those guys (Drake, Rhodes, Miears) who want to continue to play, especially now that the NCAA has granted players at the four-year schools an extra year,” said Tivy Head Coach Chris Russ.
The nation’s governing body for collegiate athletics made their decision when play was also halted at that level due to coronavirus, thereby negating most scholarship offers, and practically wiping out any aspirations of walking on.
As for Hale, and Mixon, Russ feels they would have performed at a high level and earned college offers as well, except for cancellation coming right at the time when they were scheduled to get back into the lineup.
“If we had continued to play, our seniors, and the team, might have had a shot at going far in the playoffs. They had some moxy about them, and were not afraid of any other teams. It didn’t matter who, or where we played. The team was confident, not cocky,” said Russ.
“But whatever those seniors do after high school will be positive. They’re hard-working kids, and have been raised well by their parents. They will be productive people,” Russ said.
As far as baseball production, Drake and Rhodes were team co-leaders in RBI with 17 while Miears co-led the team in runs scored at 23. Travis White, who returns for the Antlers in 2021, shared those honors with Miears.
Miears had 18 steals in Tivy’s 19 games, and was caught only three times. Rhodes was next up with seven stolen bases, and only twice was tagged out in his attempts. To help put themselves in position to run the bases, Miears led the team with a batting average of .414, totaled 35 bases, and had 13 RBI of his own. Rhodes was batting .379 before the season ended.
Drake hit .393, and scored 17 runs to support his pitching efforts that showed an ERA of 1.40, 20 strikeouts, only six walks, and nine hits given up – all in 15 innings worth of work that resulted in a 1-1 record.
Tivy started 1-3 before going the final 15 games without a loss before the shutdown.