Senior Spotlight: Mitchell, Freeport baseball seniors still finding ways to bond

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | 6:14 PM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although their final high school season was canceled, the seniors on the Freeport baseball team have still found a way to bond during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jarrett Heilman started the trend of collecting baseball cards and the others have slowly started to join. Senior first baseman Matt Mitchell started the new hobby during his quarantine and has since started to build quite the collection.

“Jarret and two of our other friends started doing it, then I got into it too,” Mitchell said. “So, I’ve been buying cards and stuff like that. I pulled a Rickie Henderson rookie card and a Michael Vick jersey card.”

Along with collecting cards, the Yellowjackets have played video games and the occasional game of catch to stay in touch as well.

The 2020 class was a special one for the Yellowjackets. They built a solid reputation over the past three years and were hoping to make another run through the WPIAL and into the PIAA tournament this season, after making their first appearance in the state tournament since 1998 last season.

Although the entire senior class left its mark on the program collectively, Mitchell made an impact individually as well. After starting to play baseball in the fifth grade, the Freeport first baseman fell in love with the sport and improved his game over time.

At first, he started as a designated hitter, but he grew into much more than that.

“I think my defense is probably one of my sneaky abilities. It’s really improved since I was little,” Mitchell said. “I used to just DH, but now I was the starting first baseman and won defensive player of the year for us last year, so that was something that I take pride in.”

Even though Mitchell came a long way in the sport and accomplished a lot, he and the rest of the seniors on the team were hoping for one more shot.

“We were ready. We had been working all winter, and we were really excited for our senior year and to give it one last shot before we all move on,” Mitchell said. “Sadly, we didn’t get to.”

What’s your favorite memory while playing baseball for Freeport?

I’d have to say in the section-clinching win last year against Deer Lakes, I came up with runners on second and third and I got intentionally walked. Then, Jarrett (Heilman) came up and hit a walk-off to win the game.

Who is the one pitcher/hitter you want to face?

Max Scherzer

If you could change positions, where would you play?

Oh, definitely shortstop

What’s a day during quarantine look like?

I normally wake up, do some schoolwork, lift, maybe hang out with my friends and work occasionally.

Have you picked up any new hobbies?

I’d have to say the card collecting.

Where are you going to college?

Butler County Community College

What will your major be?

Early childhood education

If you could switch places with anyone in the world, who would it be?

Bryce Harper

If you could choose anyone to give the commencement speech at your graduation, who would it be?

Morgan Freeman

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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