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Towson High baseball team gets bittersweet send-off

Towson High School varsity baseball senior Domenic Brooks and his parents, Chris and Kerrie Brooks, outside their Towson home for the drive-by parade on May 20.
Towson High School varsity baseball senior Domenic Brooks and his parents, Chris and Kerrie Brooks, outside their Towson home for the drive-by parade on May 20. (Kristina Bayne)

Many of us are missing baseball right now. Perhaps nobody misses it more than Towson High School seniors Dominic Brooks, Logan Devaney, Joshua Edwards, Doyle McNew, Henry Pleszkoch and Austin Turner. COVID-19 thwarted their final season of high school baseball, creating a major letdown for the teammates.

In an effort to cheer them up, other THS baseball teammates and parents organized a drive-by parade that passed each of the senior players’ homes on the evening of May 20.

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Police officer and THS’ school resource officer Tony Cardano, assistant coach of the varsity baseball team, led the parade in a patrol car, with 27 cars following. The socially distant celebration was a boost not only to the boys, but their families as well.

Julie Turner was delighted and teary eyed from the outpouring of support for her son Austin and the other seniors.

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“I know that they all felt honored and proud to be a part of the five-star brotherhood. A police-escorted senior parade is more than anyone could dream up.

"I certainly hope that will be the first — and last — time that Austin’s name is shouted over a police radio. How crazy and fun! The line of cars just kept coming and coming like an endless hug.”

At each stop there were surprises for the players and families. Kristina Bayne, one of the parent organizers, said, “We were able to put together goody bags, including a personalized ball from coach Tormey, and the Baltimore Orioles gave each senior an autographed baseball.”

Scoring the Orioles’ authenticated contribution was a home run in itself, given that the organization’s front office has been shut down.

“Baseball is so important to these seniors, and getting something special from the hometown team was such a treat,” said team parent Cleo Stamatos. “And Jeremy Conn on 105.7 sports radio took the time to give each senior a shout-out on his show, the cherry on top.”

Varsity teammate Michael Stamatos, a sophomore, was glad to see the seniors honored with the parade. “It felt like a way for everyone to show how much we appreciated them. It was a nice way to show our respect.”

“The parade was cool, and the amount of people who came surprised me,” said senior Doyle McNew. “I haven’t seen everybody in a while, so it was good to see the team.

"I’ve enjoyed playing baseball with these guys because they work hard and they care about baseball. I want to thank everyone for showing their support and for showing they care about the seniors. It means a lot.”

It meant a lot to their coach, Shawn Tormey, too. After the excitement of the parade, the finality of the stolen season started to sink in, but he’s not quite ready to let go.

“Tuesday night, I was despondent. It was a great event, but it’s like closing the book, and I’m really going to miss these seniors.”

Coach Tormey isn’t collecting uniforms just yet. He’s choosing, for now, to hold out hope that there will be an opportunity for these guys to suit up and play together one last time before they go their separate ways.

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