IT WAS A YEAR OF DRASTIC LOWS AND TREMENDOUS HIGHS FOR THE CONCORDIA LUTHERAN BASEBALL PROGRAM.
The low was the loss of legendary coach Rick Lynch, who passed over the winter. Lynch built the Crusaders into a state power in TAPPS.
The high? Dedicating the season to coach Lynch and reaching the TAPPS state final.
While the 'Saders fell in a heartbreaker, there was one constant that returns for another year and that is Sean Fitzpatrick.
The Arkansas-commit showed why he is one of the top recruits in the country as the ace of the staff. He also threw a no-hitter this season.
"We just wanted to keep his (Lynch) legacy going," Fitzpatrick said of his fallen coach. "His thing was to get onepercent better every day. We played for him with that in mind. As well as just holding yourself accountable."
Fitzpatrick is just next in a line of star baseball players at Concordia Lutheran following the likes of Ke'Byran Hayes (Pittsburg Pirates) and Shane Baz – the 12th overall pick by Pittsburgh in 2017.
"It's a huge honor to play here," he said. "Being able to come play for such a prestigious high school baseball program has been a great experience. That's why I'm here."
Fitzpatrick has been able to develop at Concordia and looks forward to the next level in due time.
"I think I'm good at a little bit of everything," he said. "I don't throw the hardest, but I do throw pretty hard. I mix up my pitches and hit my spots. That's kind of my thing. My ultimate goal is to keep getting better and hopefully put myself in a position to get drafted and see what happens next."
He has options. Arkansas, which just won its first SEC Championship, is another tremendous opportunity if he doesn't head the MLB route.
"The coaching staff at Arkansas is what sold me," he said. "Coach 'Dave' VanHorn is a legend in college baseball and Coach 'Matt' Hobbs has a great philosophy for pitchers. I'm really excited for that and ready to improve."
While he has adult decisions ahead of him, Fitzpatrick is still a teenager.
"I play golf, hunt and fish, play with my dogs and hang out with friends," he said. "I also lift weights a lot."
Who have been his greatest influences?
"My first favorite player was Lance Berkman," he said. "But now, I really like Clayton Kershaw. He's had such a great career and he's a lefty."
CLICK HERE to view the Concordia Lutheran Magazine
CLICK HERE to purchase Concordia Lutheran Photos
Deundre' Jones has been a talked about commodity in baseball circles since after his freshman campaign at Lutheran South Academy.
The junior first baseman for the Pioneers helped guide them to the program's fourth state championship this spring and third straight. VYPE caught up with the future Kansas State Wildcat.
VYPE: You are committed to Kansas State, what did you like about it?
JONES: For me, I just really fell in love with Coach [Pete] Hughes, Coach [Austin] Wates, they just made me feel comfortable. I feel like they are going to guide me to the place I want to get to.
VYPE: Who do you like to watch in MLB?
JONES: I like to watch Bryce Harper. He is fun to watch.
VYPE: Off the field what do you like to do?
JONES: I'm a big music and gamer guy. My favorite game right now is MLB The Show. I also watch a lot on YouTube like video games, vlogs and baseball stuff.
VYPE: What legacy are you trying to leave here at LSA?
JONES: I'm trying to hit the most home runs in a season, that's been my biggest goal since I got here was to set the home run record.
VYPE: In 5-10 years, what do you see yourself doing?
JONES: Playing Major League Baseball.
VYPE: Who is your biggest inspiration, who do you play for?
JONES: I play for my brother and my mom. Those are the people that motivate me, they push me. Those are the people that I play for. They did everything.