Miranda C., Global Connections Contract Admin Manager, had two whole weeks of summer this year. She spent the rest of it watching her three sons play various sports and getting one ready for college. There’s a lot to talk about in her life at any given moment, but now it’s time for her middle child, Hunter, to step in the spotlight.
A year ago, Hunter was like most young teens – playing multiple sports for fun and enjoying the freedom that came with adolescence. Since that time, he’s narrowed his focus to baseball and has his eye set on the future – however far his skills may take him.
“He wants to go all the way,” Miranda said. “He knows that he needs to stay with this team and keep progressing so that he can get a college scholarship.”
Hunter’s AAU baseball team, the Lancers, won multiple championship tournaments in dominant fashion this year and ended the season ranked No. 1 in USSSA 12-and-under AAA class. That’s a lot of youth baseball jargon, so to translate: The Lancers were the best team at one of the highest levels for their age group.
Hunter and his teammates were invited to participate in the MOKAN All-Star Game, which features around 900 out of 45,000 players in the Kansas/Missouri area. The exposure can only help Hunter from here, as he heads into seventh grade. He’s in the best situation for someone who wants to play baseball for years to come.
But let’s go back to a year ago when this life was a mere fantasy.
“No one saw this coming,” Miranda said.
Friends invited Hunter to sub on their baseball team for a tournament in 2015. Back then, he was in a rec league, which is less grueling than these tournament teams. Yet Hunter was talented enough to earn a spot as the Lancers’ starting first baseman. Soon after, the team hired a new coaching staff and that changed everything.
“We have phenomenal coaches and we have coaches other people want,” Miranda said. “People are champing at the bit to get on this team.”
In a year’s time, this coaching staff took a AA team, improved them to AAA, and now enter this fall season at the Major level, which consists of the top 10 percent of teams in the state. That ascension is unprecedented. Hunter couldn’t have asked for a better time to join the team.
Now, with these coaches who like to see players through until college, Hunter is in it for the long haul. He already gave up football, a sport he had played since he was 6, and spends five days a week practicing. He’s giving up a lot now for a chance to reap the rewards later – just about every player under these coaches gets a Division I college scholarship.
“I know what he’s missing as a child,” Miranda said. “I know he’s giving up a lot of time – going to Worlds of Fun with friends and having friends stay the night. But in the end, he’s the one who makes that decision.”
We know it’s a long road and there are a lot of sacrifices that come with it – from time to money and the roller coaster of emotions to follow. But we hope to be hearing Hunter’s name a lot more in the coming years.