Taylor’s baseball team envisioned a turnaround season in 2020.
Coach Kris Dill had a strong core of returning players in place following a rebuilding season in 2019. The Titans finished 9-18, but two of those wins came in sectional games, against teams the Titans had lost to during the regular season.
One of the players Dill was counting on to have a big season was senior Colby Devenport.
Dill envisioned Devenport batting cleanup or a little lower in the order while working as the designated hitter or first baseman. Devenport also was one of the Titans’ top pitchers and Dill noted he had worked in the offseason to develop command of all of his pitches.
Of course, Devenport and the Titans never had a chance to show their improvement. Baseball and the other spring sports were canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The following is a Q-and-A with Devenport, the latest in our series focusing on senior athletes.
Q: Obviously, the decision to cancel spring sports had to have hit hard. What are your thoughts for your team and for yourself?
A: I think that everyone on the team, coaches and teammates, are upset with the canceling of the season. I am upset about it too, but I think if there’s one thing baseball has taught me it’s that some things do not work out sometimes and I think everyone can relate to that.
Q: What were your goals for the season, both team-wise and individually, and did you feel prepared to chase those goals?
A: We all agreed after last season that we wanted to win a sectional championship. We were one win short from making that happen last year. We had some returning players and new players work hard in the gym and get better this winter and I think that we were all ready to be better and help the team this spring.
Q: What are the experiences you’re going to miss the most from not playing this spring?
A: I think the thing i will miss most about playing baseball at Taylor will be that first couple of weeks of the season. Every year you anticipate that first practice where every player has been itching to get back into things and the energy is high. That first practice is always important because it sets the tone of how things are going to progress through the first few weeks.
Q: How would you describe your team’s senior class?
A: I think our senior class is competitive. Karlion Blackburn started playing again for us last year and this was going to be a big season for him. I think he competed to become one of our catchers and it’s a shame that we didn’t get to show him off. I think the other seniors, Jacob Issacs and Owen Farrington, would also agree.
Q: What is your favorite memory from your high school career?
A: My favorite memory of high school baseball would be our first win with coach [Kris] Dill last year. It was against Northwestern at their field and we got on the scoreboard early. We had a few mistakes in an inning, but battled to keep the lead and I think this showed how our team was coming together.
Q: Who was your most influential teammate or coach in high school?
A: I think the coach who influenced me the most in baseball was coach Dill. Whenever I messed up, coach Dill knew what to say. He helped me a ton on and off the field. I think the biggest teammate I had was Michael Pemberton. Michael and I were always competing even if it was to get to the coach’s classroom to get the workout list. I think he helped make me a better ball player and I think he’s got a big future ahead.
Q: What lessons will you take from playing high school baseball?
A: I think there are three things I will take from high school baseball: responsibility, accountability and relationships. You are responsible for a role each day on a baseball team whether it’s for practice or a game. Your teammates need to be able to count on you to help the team every day. And you need to have relationships with your teammates. If you don’t have a relationship with all of your teammates, you create separate sections of the team. You all need to click when you are on the field.
Q: Non-athletic question, how would you describe the high school class of 2020?
A: The class of 2020 is hopeful. I think that most of my classmates have come off as very positive and hopeful. So many of them have plans on what they want to do and how they want to live in the future and we are all hopeful that things will work out how we have planned them and we hope others have the same luck.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: I plan to attend Indiana Tech and continue playing baseball and continue learning as well. I want to study industrial and manufacturing engineering.