When we lost to Taunton in the South Sectional quarterfinals last season, I remember walking out of the dugout for Coach Carey’s post game talk. The entire time, I looked at our seniors. They had played their final game in silver and red and, once the talk ended, I got up, hugged them, thanked them for their guidance, and wished them luck in the future.
The end of that season hurt, as it does every year you don’t win a championship. What I remembered most though was
talking to my fellow underclassmen about the work we needed to do to not feel that same sense of hurt the following year. When I handed in my uniform days later, I remember talking about the upcoming summer baseball season and promising myself I was going to improve my mechanics so that I could come out flying during my senior season.
I never thought my CM baseball career would end there. It wasn’t supposed to. But it did.
Those who know me best know that baseball runs in my family. My great- grandfather George Susce was a catcher in the major leagues, my grandfather George Susce, Jr. pitched for the Red Sox, and my uncle George Susce III played Division I baseball at Providence College. Growing up, I even went to Fenway Park to catch batting practice balls on top of the Green Monster.
At CM, I played four seasons of baseball between the middle school, freshman, JV, and varsity levels. I had memories of a home run against my hometown of Natick, creating some of the best hand-shakes with my teammates, and standing on the mound ready to go to war.
Up until March 2020, my fifth and final year on Baker Street had been my best one yet. I had gotten into every college I applied to and had co-captained our hockey team to a Catholic Conference title along with its first appearance in the Super 8 in six years.
I wanted to carry this success into the spring and onto the diamond. We had a great squad going in and I thought it would have been hard for anyone to beat us. Our sights were set on the school’s fourth Catholic Conference title, second Super 8 appearance, and lone state championship that school year.
Among these team goals was another, more personal goal. My younger brother, Mikey, plays for Natick and his team was supposed to scrimmage CM before the season. We had spent the entire winter talking about it. Whenever we did, I’d play the same situation over and over in my head. Each time, Mikey would be a baserunner trying to steal second and I would be behind the plate playing catcher.
“He’s definitely gonna go,” I’d tell myself. I’d signal a fastball outside and then, once Mikey raced toward second, the daydream would end in a slide, a cloud of dust, and the umpire yelling, “Out!”
But reality hit in March. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, my final season - the final chance I’d ever get to play against my brother - vanished.
So how do I say goodbye to a season that never was? There’s no real answer if I’m being honest. Right now, I feel like the best way to say goodbye is to just be thankful for the past four years I got to wear a CM uniform.
It reminds me of a quote I learned from Dr. Seuss. He says, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
Those seasons on the middle school, freshman, JV, and varsity level gave me the chance to develop and compete at a high level, make so many friends, and leave with memories that will last a lifetime. I’ll never look back with regret on any moment I’ve spent in a CM baseball uniform.
And, that’s the way I’ll choose to remember my baseball career.