Story courtesy of Aaron Dorksen ( The Daily Record )

Triway High School’s Blaine Carmichael Field will become a “Field of Dreams” of sorts when the Class of 2020 players take the field.

The Wayne-Holmes Baseball Coaches Association Farewell Game will be a doubleheader, with seven-inning games at 4:30 and 6:30. The rain date is July 15.

Sponsors for the game are Boots, Shoes and More; Commercial Savings Bank; Expert T’s; Insurance Centre Agency; Pulp; Wayne Savings; and Tim Pettorini, Jr. of Roetzel & Andress.

“For the kids, it’s a really special opportunity to play one last time with their teammates and other kids from around the area,” said 17th-year Orrville coach Scott Marshall, who will help lead the Red Team, which will include his son, Lane. “No matter where the kids are from in this area, I think they are all wired pretty similar.

“Some of them have gone on and played travel ball, others haven’t picked up a baseball since March or April. I’ve heard some of the ones who stopped playing have started playing catch again to get their arms in shape when they heard we were going to have this game. That tells you it means something to them and they want to make the most of this chance. For some of these kids, baseball is their sport and they worked all year long for a season that was taken away. It’s unfortunate and I feel bad for all the kids, especially the seniors.”

Recently hired Triway coach Justin McDowell, who led Waynedale to a 101-44 record over the past six seasons, took the lead to organize the WHBCA and the Farewell game with the help of a small committee.

“I feel bad for every senior athlete and, personally, we had eight seniors at Waynedale,” McDowell said. “It was really hard because we thought we’d have been pretty special this year.

“This doesn’t offer any condolences and isn’t anywhere near as good as having a season, but it’s better than nothing.”

After pausing, McDowell reflected more on what the Farewell Game will mean for many players and their families.

“It’s one more time for teammates to get out there, to play together to win, more time to compete in high school because it’s sad that all these guys lost all that,” the former College of Wooster All-American pitcher said. “The parents put so much into it and their reward is getting to watch their kids, which I’ve witnessed being in the Wayne County Athletic League for the last six years.

“We didn’t have many problems. The parents all seem to love baseball and obviously love their kids and this is just as much for the parents as it is for the kids.”

McDowell had a loaded lineup returning from last season’s Div. III regional runner-up team. On May 19, he confirmed that he was leaving Waynedale to become the co-athletic director and baseball coach at Triway.

In a twist of fate, baseball will come full circle with the only high school affiliated game of 2020 played at Triway. The last game the Titans played was on May 15, 2019 when they lost 13-3 in a sectional final matchup at Waynedale.

Beloved Triway coach Sean Carmichael passed away unexpectedly less than three months later at age 52 on August 11. Family members will be on hand to honor the Wayne County Sports Hall of Famer before the Farewell Game and be involved with a first-pitch ceremony.

“I’ve thought about that often, how Sean’s last game was against us at Waynedale,” McDowell said. “I never would have thought I’d be here now coaching.

“Brent Campbell (father of Triway senior Kaden Campbell) said it’s kind of fitting that it ends here – that we can also honor Coach Carmichael while playing this game. We didn’t have a season and it kind of seems hard to have baseball without him and even more this year, so it’s bittersweet there’s no doubt about that. I’m just happy that the school board and superintendent Nate Schindewolf allowed us to play the game here because it’s going to be memorable for a lot of people.”

Head coaches for the Blue Team will be McDowell and Wooster’s Steve Young. Assistants will be Lucas Daugherty, Brandon Giles, Joey Gilmore and George Crone from Waynedale, along with Wooster’s Rick Grayshock.

Playing for the Blue Team at 4:30 will be Waynedale’s Matt Weaver (C), James Raber (1B-DH), Riley Hostetler (Utility), Kenny Yoder (3B-P), Tyler Urconis (OF-P), Zack Miller (INF) and Wyatt McRobie (1B-C-OF); West Holmes’ Grant Miller (OF-P); and Wooster’s Henry Nebesky (1B) and Jake Curren (P-OF).

Suiting up for the Blue Team at 6:30 will be Chippewa’s Greyson Cazzolli (INF), Hiland’s Kobe Shetler (P-OF), Casey Kalman (C-1B), Shayne Hershberger (C-OF), Brett Miller (2B-OF), Kevin Borntrager (INF-OF); Northwestern’s Travis Cochran (CF-C-P) and Austin Beegle (C-INF-P); Triway’s Travis Burkholder (CF-P), Kaden Campbell (1B-Utility) and Thomas Gress (C-LF) and Wooster’s Trevor Leighty (P-OF).

The Red Team will be coached by Orrville’s Scott Marshall and Smithville’s Barry Smith. Assistants will be Orrville’s Mark Besancon and Smithville’s Mike Smith.

Playing for the Red Team at 4:30 will be Chippewa’s AJ Shannon (3B-P) and Ty Mingle (OF); Dalton’s Chance Green (1B-P-3B); Loudonville’s Derek Fisher (CF-P-2B); Northwestern’s Cal Rhamy (LF-INF); Orrville’s Parker Duxbury (P-3B) and Daniel Rittgers (INF); Rittman’s Dylan Walsh (P-INF) and Keyshaun Clark (OF); and Smithville’s Blake Reichard (1B-3B-RF).

Taking the field for the Red Team at 6:30 will be Hillsdale’s Evan Rottman (INF-P), Carsten Betson (C-INF), Brock Hoverstock (OF), Clay Schoen (1B) and Briar Funk (3B-P); Orrville’s Lane Marshall (1B-P), Parker Duxbury (P), Phil Stauffer (C-OF) and Kaidan Domer (P-OF); Smithville’s Tristen Raber (OF); and West Holmes’ Caleb Martin (INF) and Michael Miller (OF).

“I think originally everyone thought the season would be delayed for a couple weeks and we’d get back at it,” Coach Marshall said. “Eventually, we all had to accept it because there’s nothing we could do about it.

“Some of the kids have continued to play and will do so in college. For others, this will be their last game. Any day you get a chance to play, be thankful. This year taught us more than ever before you can’t take it for granted.”

NOTE: All senior baseball players in The Daily Record coverage area were invited to play. Thanks to the generosity of the sponsors, the game will be free of charge. Players will receive jerseys and there will be MVP trophies for both teams in both games.

Donations will be accepted to go toward the Wayne-Holmes Baseball Coaches Association and help with future All-Star Games.

The game planning committee consisted of McDowell, Brent Campbell, Aaron Dorksen and The Daily Record’s Alex Tichenor and Josh McWilliams.

Fans are asked to follow social distancing guidelines and bring chairs to space out around the field.

A Wayne-Holmes Farewell Softball Game will be held at Triway’s Roger Wells field at 6 p.m. on July 21. Rain date is July 22.