Andrew Holloway not only missed his final varsity baseball season, he also won’t be playing American Legion ball this summer.
But there’s a good reason for that.
The recent Bellevue East graduate will be reporting to the Air Force Academy later this month. It’s something positive after seeing his senior season wiped out because of coronavirus concerns.
“Missing out on spring was really tough,” he said. “We had six seniors on the team and we felt we had a chance to be pretty good.”
The Chieftains got in a few practices and one major scrimmage before the NSAA suspending all spring activities, which eventually led to their cancellation.
“The CWS and other events were being canceled that week,” Holloway said. “We knew that probably meant we weren’t going to have a season.”
They did get a team photo after that scrimmage.
“Andrew said this was probably going to be our senior night,” Bellevue East coach Ian DeLaet said. “He was right about that.”
Holloway, a starter since his sophomore year, was going to be a key player for the Chieftains. The third baseman batted .321 the previous season and pitched 24 innings.
The team was looking forward to competing in an Arizona tournament in March — before that was scrubbed as well.
“It was disappointing for all of us, but I felt especially bad for our seniors,” DeLaet said. “The guys had all worked so hard getting ready for this season.”
One of those hard workers was Holloway, who also pushed himself in the classroom. The school’s valedictorian went through a lengthy application process before he was accepted by the Air Force.
“It was something I had thought about since my freshman year,” he said. “I’m pretty proud of where I’m going.”
Having lost that varsity season, Holloway planned to play Legion baseball this summer. Again, the coronavirus interfered.
He received a letter from the Air Force in mid-May that he was not to take any risk of contracting COVID-19. If he tested positive, that could affect his acceptance into the academy.
With that in mind, Holloway made the difficult phone call to DeLaet to tell his coach he wouldn’t be playing any more baseball at Bellevue East.
“I know how much he loves this sport, so that had to be really tough for him,” the coach said. “I could hear the disappointment in his voice, but I told him he was making the right decision.”
DeLaet added that he’ll remember Holloway for much more than baseball.
“In my 11 years in high school athletics, he’s probably the nicest kid I’ve ever coached,” he said. “He also helped mentor students, and their parents would ask me who he was because he had done such a nice job.”
The Legion teams were allowed to begin practicing Monday and can start playing games June 18. Holloway said he has stayed away but might go watch a game or two before leaving for the Air Force on June 24.
DeLaet said he ordered one extra Legion jersey for Holloway, who has big plans for the future. He wants to major in astronautical engineering with the hope of someday working in space.
“I’ve been playing baseball my whole life, so this was a tough way for it to end,” Holloway said. “It’s all pretty bittersweet, but I’m ready to move on.”