Baseball falls to Hickman in “Giving Game”, raises $7,000

Ketti Horton, Staff writer

Wednesday May 4’s RBHS varsity baseball game versus cross-town rival Hickman High School (HHS) started off a bit different than most. This game, also known as the “Giving Game” was a benefit for Ronald McDonald House (RMDH). RBHS freshman baseball player Davis Taylor chose RMDH to be the charity for this year’s game. Taylor was one of five boys involved in an ATV accident last year that left him paralyzed. Head coach Justin Towe said that Taylor and his family have been utilizing the RMDH in Louisville, Kentucky as he attends physical therapy there.

Wednesday’s game started with Taylor’s father and brother throwing the first pitch, followed by barbeque meals sold; with over $7,000 being raised for RMDH. Senior pitcher Payton Messer said being able to start off a big game like this meant a great deal to the team.

“Honoring Davis and the boys made the game a lot more special because it was more than just a game,” Messer said. “It brought a lot of the community together for a good cause.”

The second pitch was thrown by Messer at the top of the first, where a steady flow of rain was coming down. Messer however was not thrown off guard and struck out HHS’s first hitter, first baseman Carter Abrams. 

“The rain made it pretty hard for me to find a grip on my pitches,” Messer said. “But I settled down and found it once the game got going.”

Towe credits Messer with being able to keep the game in control.

“This game was very much pitcher controlled which is why it ultimately came down to one swing,” Towe said. “Payton did really well off the mound, and with the weather both teams performed really well.”

Honoring Davis and the boys made the game a lot more special because it was more than just a game. It brought a lot of the community together for a good cause.

— Payton Messer, senior

Playing against HHS was exhilarating for the team. Senior left fielder Austin Stewart said this game had a special meaning to the team.

“It was definitely a really big game. Giving Game, conference championship, district game and rivalry game all in one,” Stewart said. “I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous, but I thought about Davis and I thought about what this game meant to the community and that really helped me channel my nerves to just go out and play.”

The game was evenly matched, with no scoring until the bottom of the fourth when junior Jacob Gillig slid across home plate. Not many swings were getting through, as most hitters were able to walk on base. Both offense and defense were controlled and concise which “really got the momentum going,” Messer said.

At the bottom of the sixth inning both teams were still tied 1-1, awaiting the possibility of an extra inning. Top of the seventh inning, HHS designated hitter Tyler Stine hit a home run with two bases already loaded. There wasn’t much time for the Bruins to combat this 1-4 run deficit. RBHS was able to score once more with a run batted in (RBI) from Stewart.

While this was not the desired outcome for the Bruins, it was special as this was more than just a game. 

“[Davis] seemed like such a great kid the first couple times I met him. I was really shocked when I heard the news,” Stewart said. “With all that happening going into the [baseball] season, I started to appreciate having the opportunity to play and not take anything for granted because you never know what could happen.”