The school year was going as planned for Peyton Nash.
He excelled on the gridiron as an all-state defensive back for Mitchell High School and led the Mitchell Marlins hockey team with 17 goals. But like every year, the senior was waiting for spring baseball to begin. It’s the sport he grew up playing in the backyard with his dad, which turned into his favorite time of the year.
Nash has become a staple in Mitchell’s outfield. The spring season was called off due to COVID-19, with the cancellation of the Legion baseball season following before a Wednesday meeting changed the season’s direction once again, as the state chose to sanction a season but have coaches take on administration duties.
“It was kind of just like sudden,” Nash said. “We were just getting out of school at the beginning of March and didn’t think it would last all that long -- didn’t know how serious it was. Then we get a text that there’s no spring baseball, and it’s just like, ‘Wow, our senior season is all done.’ … It just didn’t feel very good.”
Baseball has always been part of Nash’s life. He recalls playing catch by the time he was a year old, and then in little league, the Mitchell Sluggers three-peated as a state champions.
“Just lived my life with baseball around me,” Nash said. “Every year just looking forward to it. Every year, we got football, then hockey, then finally it’s baseball. Every year it’s the sport I look forward to the most.”
Nash entered his senior year with the thought of this being his last on the baseball diamond. He had plans to attend the University of South Dakota to study operational analytics. In January, he received a call from the Southwest Minnesota State University baseball coaching staff which changed his mind.
He’ll attend SMSU next year, along with teammate and pitcher Brady Brosz, as an outfielder. Nash will study data analytics.
“I had a visit up there, and kind of decided I couldn’t go without baseball,” Nash said.
He had to go without baseball this spring, though, being stuck practicing with friends at Drake Field to keep his arm loose despite the season being in flux. The summer is also in jeopardy, albeit with a clearer path to play than even a week ago.
Although, like a lot of seniors, he’s trying to make the most of a bad situation.
“We’re really looking forward to doing our senior activities, especially the last semester of our high school career. That’s probably the most exciting one for every high school student,” Nash said. “That getting taken away was emotional, but some families are looking to do one off the books with our little prom group.”