With a month left in the regular season, it is crunch time for the Hammond Skyhawks, and coach Ray Derrick believes his team is up to the challenge.
Among his reasons for encouragement is shortstop Brooks Borders, one of seven seniors on Hammond (12-2).
“They don’t come much better than him,” Derrick said. “I’d take nine Brooks Borders and go to war and feel good about it.
“You’re not going to find one that works harder than Brooks. There’s nothing that I ask of him that he doesn’t give every effort to get done for us.”
Borders, a five-year starter for the Skyhawks, said the effort he gives his team is an example of the you-get-out-what-you-put-in philosophy.
“It’s really about my family and my coaches and just me wanting to make them proud,” he said. “They have sacrificed so much for me from the time I started, and I want to make sure that I make all of that worth it.”
For Borders, the time spent under Derrick has had its benefits.
“I think the most important thing is, I’ve got great coaching,” he said.
“Coach Derrick has taught me a lot, and I’ve really loved the game and loved playing for him,” Borders said. “He’s always preaching to us, play the game the right way. You can’t control so much of what happens, but you can do things the right way.
“Without all the coaching that I’ve had, I’d never have the opportunity to go to college on a baseball scholarship.”
Borders, who plans to play at Campbell University next season, has had an impact on his teammates as well.
“He’s been a great teammate. He leads by example and he’s just a great guy to have around,” said fellow senior Jae Roberts. “He’s taught me a lot about the game.”
The Skyhawks have been having a stellar season and Borders is looking forward to making the most of the remaining few weeks.
“It’s been great,” Borders said. “Senior year has been a special time and I’m just trying to enjoy my time with these guys and help my team reach its goal.”
Borders and the Skyhawks continue their chase for a SCISA title with an appearance in the S.C. Diamond Invitational, which begins today at Blythewood.