Today at noon, the Staples baseball team plays for its 1st state championship since 2001.
The Wreckers — a strong, deep team with excellent pitching — have a great shot. But years from now, no matter how the players remember this game against Amity, chances are good they’ll remember something else from the season.
Hamden’s star player was Jim Magson, a 6-2, 190-pound shortstop with plenty of college offers. But he turned them all down.
He’s enlisting in the Marine Corps. In August, he heads to Parris Island boot camp.
The loss to the Wreckers meant that Magson had just played his last baseball game ever. During the ceremonial handshake line, Staples coach Jack McFarland impulsively invited Magson into the Wrecker dugout.
He introduced the Hamden senior, and told the players about Magson’s decision to become a Marine.
“He’s a real hero,” McFarland said. “In a few months, he could be on a mountain somewhere. He’ll be risking his life, so that you can have all the freedoms you take for granted.”
It was a powerful, teachable moment. In the glow of victory, the Staples baseball team had plenty to think about — far beyond the next game.
(The state class LL baseball championship is set for 12 p.m. today [Saturday, June 13] at Palmer Field in Middletown. The game will be broadcast and livestreamed on 90.3 WWPT-FM; click here to listen.)