Lucas Dunn, Louisville teammates ponder baseball futures by the beach

Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 11:01 PM CDT
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Louisville pitcher Luke Smith throws fastballs...

"I remember playing Chicago State on Wednesday and really the only worry was whether or not we were going to have classes."

He's not used to life throwing back at him, up and in, as it did to everyone last week.

"We were in practice and after it was over, the coaches had a meeting with us and that's when they broke the news," the senior recalled. "That was a tough day. I'm not going to lie to you. That was a tough day."

The Cardinals' 13-and-4 season was canceled. Ranked second in the nation, their dream of returning to the College World Series disappeared.

"Coach broke down, which led some of the pitchers to break down as well, which was kind of sad. Honestly, I don't think it has set in yet that college baseball is in the past."

The beach is the best medicine for heartbreak.

Arnold alum and Panama City Beach native Lucas Dunn stepped up to the plate with a safe haven for his teammates: a waterfront condo.

"I'm going to be here for I don't exactly know how long, but my teammates are going to be down here for a week," the junior infielder/outfielder said. "We wake up, we throw, we run on the beach a little bit. We're staying active, getting better."

Trading the diamond dirt for white sand isn't easy, but it's therapeutic.

"Baseball is always on our mind," junior pitcher Reid Detmers admitted. "We're always thinking about it, trying to get better. But that's why we came down here. It's very calming being here on the beach. It kind of soothes the mind a little bit."

There's a lot on their minds. The University of Louisville moved everything online through early May, which means Reid and his three senior classmates (Adam Elliott, Danny Oriente, and Justin Lavey) will miss out on a normal graduation.

All three are good enough to get drafted in June but reports are circulating that event might get canceled too, raising even more questions.

"It's definitely in the back of the head, but I'm not too worried about it," Detmers, a projected top ten overall pick said. "Whatever happens, happens. Whatever the MLB decides to do, that's what we're going to have to do. Whether that's moving it up, moving it back, canceling it. We'll find out."

Until then, it's back to the beach.

"I'm not going to say I'm upset waking up to the sound of the waves in the morning," Smith added, "but our flight would have left for North Carolina this afternoon and to say I wish I wasn't playing right now in Chapel Hill, that would be a lie."

Even when there's no baseball season, there's still baseball.

"I'm staying in touch with a lot of my old teammates from around the area and working out with them," Dunn said. "The memories we have made and the career I have had has been unbelievable. Definitely the best time of my life, but I was looking forward to getting one more run."

Somewhere, with somebody, somehow, there's always baseball.

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