J-M’s Headen, pair of seniors discuss possibility of resumption of sports

Posted 4/24/20

SILER CITY — Could it be there’s a light at the end of the tunnel?

With the coronavirus still in the forefront of everyone’s mind, recent developments have raised the possibility we may soon …

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J-M’s Headen, pair of seniors discuss possibility of resumption of sports

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Posted

SILER CITY — Could it be there’s a light at the end of the tunnel?

With the coronavirus still in the forefront of everyone’s mind, recent developments have raised the possibility we may soon be returning to some type of normalcy in our everyday lives, which could include the resumption of sporting events.

That’s music to the ears of Jordan-Matthews’ baseball coach John Will Headen and a pair of his seniors, Camden Fuquay and Samuel Murchison. Since the Jets’ season came to a crashing halt in early March, the trio has held out hope at some point they might have the opportunity to return to the diamond and finish out what started out as a promising 2020 campaign.

“The stoppage of our season has been heartbreaking for our players, especially the seniors, the majority of whom have played at J-M for four years,” related Headen in a recent interview. “If their high school careers have come to an end they won’t be able to realize what they would have been able to enjoy their final year at Jordan-Matthews, and many won’t be playing at the next level after they graduate.”

“Rumors have been circulating if the green light to play again comes soon enough we could resume our season before the end of May and extend it out into the summer,” continued Headen. “If that was the case we might be looking at a condensed schedule like American Legion uses and play five-to-six days a week since players won’t be attending classes during the day. But for now we remain on a wait-and-see basis until a final decision is made by higher authority.”

In the meantime, both Fuquay and Murchison said the absence of playing has really had an effect on their daily schedules. “It’s a big change to not be able to go onto the field every day, practice with your teammates and play two or three nights a week,” stated Fuquay. “I can still practice throwing and hitting at home, but it’s not the same as doing it between the lines on an actual field.”

Like his teammate, Murchison says he is trying to stay on a schedule while waiting to see what the future holds in store. “I do baseball-related workouts on a regular basis at home, but it’s just not the same,” he remarked. “I don’t like to think about the possibility of not playing with the same people on the same field again before my high school career is over.”

Both players had set high personal goals for themselves coming into this season. Fuquay, who pitches besides playing outfield and first base, commented, “When on the mound I wanted to cut down the number of walks I issued to opposing batters and throw well enough every outing to give my team a chance to win, while I wanted to be a smarter batter at the plate and get more hits with people on base.”

Murchison, who also pitches and can play all infield positions, explained, “I had high expectations this year because I felt like I was the most prepared I’ve been in my high school career. I did a lot of work in the off-season and my main goal at the plate was to be better disciplined and more willing to take walks, while I wanted to throw strikes on the hill and trust my infield and outfield when opposing batters made contact.”

Asked to recall some highlights during their time at J-M, Fuquay said, “Against Wheatmore last year we were playing in front of a big crowd and got up 11-0 early but they came back and made a game of it before we pulled out a win at the end. In my sophomore year we were playing at Wheatmore and I ran into the fence chasing a fly ball in the first inning and knocked out four teeth. I went right to the hospital to get them put back in and started on the mound the next day against Randleman.”

Murchison recalled, “I remember my game pitching against Bartlett Yancey my freshman year because everyone was having fun in the dugout and it was my first decent outing as a high school pitcher. Then in a game against Union Pines last year I was throwing with good velocity, staying around 89 miles-per-hour all night long, and they couldn’t touch me while I hit a home run that night.”

What will the pair miss the most about their time at Jordan-Matthews? Said Fuquay, “I’ll miss seeing my friends in class every day, looking forward to heading to the baseball field after school and playing with guys who love the game as much as I do.” Murchison noted, “I’ll miss playing high school sports including baseball and basketball and bonding as a team with the guys I played with.”

Plans after graduation? Fuquay indicated he has been accepted at East Carolina University and initially plans to play baseball for a club team, while Murchison has received a full academic scholarship to North Carolina Central University and hopes to compete for a spot on the Eagles’ baseball roster.

Headen revealed should the Jets be fortunate enough to have their season extended, he felt his team has the ingredients to challenge for the PAC 7 2A Conference title and make a deep run into the state playoffs behind his two star pitchers.

“In the games we played this spring before the shutdown, Murchison and Fuquay threw a combined 15 innings, allowing just two hits and no runs while striking out 31 batters,” said Headen. “Both have the ability to make batters look foolish, both relish being on the mound in big situations, and if an opponent does manage to get someone on base the runner won’t touch home plate if either of these guys are throwing.”

“In addition, at the plate Fuquay was batting .357 while Murchison was hitting .333; Fuquay’s on-base and slugging percentage was .857 while Murchison’s was 1.029; and they had three stolen bases between them while drawing a combined total of nine walks. Not only do these two field their positions well, but they are dependable as well as good leaders on and off the field.”

Headen then summed up his feelings by stating, “For the sake of our players and the community that supports us at our games, we remain optimistic this long period of hardship and adversity is nearing an end, and if so there indeed is light at the end of the tunnel.”

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