For the group of Hannibal Hoots players that stuck with the team throughout the season, winning the final game of the regular season was a fitting finish.
QUINCY, Ill. – Different groups of Hannibal Hoots players posed for pictures following Tuesday night’s 22-1 victory over the DuPage Pistol Shrimp to end the Prospect League season.
Of those, one was a group of players that were on the Hoots’ roster on the first day of the regular season. It was a large group, consisting of players like pitchers Dylan Chisholm, Parker Heidorf and Cruz Meier. Infielders Damian Yenzi, Kyler Kent and Kellan Murray were also part of the photo.
“I thought it would be a smaller group,” Hoots manager Clayton Hicks said. “I thought we’d have a complete turnover. I thought at the beginning of the year, we’d have a completely new group.”
Hicks expected that because of the obstacles thrown at the club this season, especially not being able to play at its home in Clemens Field all season.
Those handful of players, however, stuck it out.
“It was good to have those guys that stuck them out the entire year,” Hicks said. “I know it wasn’t easy. It was a grind for them.”
It made the season-ending victory a memorable one.
Chisholm, who pitched for the Hoots the last two summers, received a standing ovation from the crowd as he exited with two outs in the fifth inning.
“I had a lot of emotions there,” Chisholm said. “That’s the last time I’ll ever come off a mound so it was cool I got a strikeout on the last batter and got to pitch in the last game.
“All the guys knew it was my last day, so they made it a lot of fun.”
Even the players that joined during the season felt included right away. They all had to go through the same grind of playing virtually 60 road games this summer.
“The guys were the best part,” Hannibal outfielder Mark Goudy said. “They were very welcoming to me as soon as I got to the dugout. I felt like a brother.”
That’s why there were lots of hugs and pictures taken and well wishes after the game.
That close bond happened because of the grind they went through together.