For the past three years, Brooks Lindsay has spent a lot of time getting really dirty.
It’s not that Lindsay likes rolling in the dirt or anything, but it’s because he has been diving to keep baseballs from rolling to the backstop, and blocking balls into the ground.
It’s been worth it for the MHS baseball senior as he leads a team that’s geared up to play against Haysville Campus in the first round of the Class 6A tournament on Friday at Hoglund Stadium in Lawrence.
MHS coach Don Hess said they have seen a lot of toughness out of Lindsay over the past few years.
“He’s had a remarkable year this year in that sometimes he has not only caught a lot of innings but some of our pitchers at times, we count on them to throw the ball over the plate and sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, and he has had to block a lot of balls and he has been beat up,” he said. “But he never complains.”
Lindsay has been hit by the ball, he’s been bruised and he has been hit by bats at different times in the last year. But he said it would take a whole lot for him to leave a game.
“I’d probably have to have a broken bone,” he said. “I’d probably still try unless I couldn’t walk or throw, if I was putting my team in danger, I wouldn’t go out.
“I’ve learned a lot from Don on how to be a catcher, and to be a catcher you have to have a lot of toughness, and I would never leave the game unless I had to.”
The senior said the toughest part of being a catcher is blocking balls behind the plate, making sure that none get past you. He said every pitch has a different bounce to it.
But he said the feeling of catching a called third strike and throwing runners out makes up for it.
“Framing a called strike three and throwing a guy out are close,” he said. “I would say the best feeling is framing a called strike three to end the game.”
Lindsay said he is on Cloud 9 this week, reeling with the unbelievable feeling of returning to state after a one-season absence.
Both Lindsay and Hess said there is almost a cruel irony in the fact that last year’s team, a team that everyone felt was loaded with talent, couldn’t make it to state. With the success of the MHS program, the feeling of the team is often that they belong in state.
Hess said that’s a product of where the program is at. And he said sometimes the good teams just don’t make it to state.
“It’s kind of a cruel situation at times,” Hess said. “We have had some great teams in the past that also haven’t been able to get to the state tournament. Sometimes it’s seeding, sometimes bad luck and sometimes the other team has a pitcher that’s on top of their game.”
The Indians will open with Campus in a battle of 18-4 teams at 1:30. While the Indians have a number of guys who will be playing college baseball nest season, Campus features Justin Burba, the 6A Player of the Year who is committed to play at Oklahoma next season.
Hess said it will be a good game between two teams that know very little about each other.
“We don’t know much about Campus, they don’t know much about us because we don’t play each other,” he said. “They’ve had a great year and a player that’s going to OU, the state player of the year, so it’s a great challenge.”
Hess said going back to state is as important for the seniors to finish their careers as it is to getting invaluable experience for underclassmen.
“When you hear our current seniors talk about going as sophomores and wanting to get back there, it’s great for your seniors, but its also great for the underclassmen,” he said. “Our seniors are very deserving of this berth and hopefully the young guys will be as hungry as they are in the future.”