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Local seniors relish final chance to wear high school uniform, play baseball at pro park

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • The Class of 2020 Baseball and Softball Invitational is being played at PeoplesBank Park.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday have baseball games. Thursday will feature a softball doubleheader.
  • Attendance at the games is by invitation only. Each player receives eight tickets.
York White Roses' starter Trey Pridgen of York Suburban High School delivers to a York Pirates' batter during Class of 2020 invitational baseball action at PeoplesBank Park Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

It wasn’t the first time that Trey Pridgen stepped on the field at PeoplesBank Park, but that didn’t make the night any less special.

The York Suburban High School graduate had previously pitched at the home of the York Revolution in travel tournaments, but never in his high school uniform. 

Tuesday night, the right-hander took the ball first and opened the Class of 2020 Baseball and Softball Invitational at PeoplesBank Park. That began a three-day event that offers area high school baseball and softball seniors a chance to play after they lost their final prep seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s really cool to be in a professional-type setting, but still be playing with your high school friends,” Pridgen said. “It’s a really unique experience that I think a lot of people will remember.”

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Pridgen tossed three shutout innings with three strikeouts and left the mound with his York White Roses team up 7-0. The former Trojan has stayed sharp during the spring and early summer as he prepares to head to Randolph-Macon College to continue his career. 

Randolph-Macon was ranked the No. 2 team in NCAA Division III before the season was canceled and Pridgen is excited to join a talented, competitive team as a two-way player.

“It’s definitely really exciting to know I will be joining a program of great baseball players,” Pridgen said. “It’s something I have always wanted — to play at a college where baseball is really important and get a great education.”

York White Roses' pitcher Trey Pridgen of York Suburban High School is congratulated after scoring a run against the York Pirates during Class of 2020 invitational baseball action at PeoplesBank Park Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

West York had the most players in the event with seven, with Gabe Allen getting the start on the mound for the York Pirates squad. A number of players from the York-Adams League took part in the opening night of the event, including athletes from Central York, New Oxford, Eastern York, Dover, York Suburban, South Western, York Tech, Northeastern, Red Lion, Bermudian Springs, Biglerville and Susquehannock.

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In addition to the local players, a pair of athletes from outside the Y-A League joined the event: Justin Yohn, a catcher from Middletown Area High going to play at Penn State Altoona, and Andrew Root, a pitcher from Trinity High who will play at St. Vincent College.

The York Pirates take on the York White Roses during Class of 2020 invitational baseball action at PeoplesBank Park Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

Families of the players on the field were the only fans allowed to enter the event. Each player was given eight tickets that allowed their families to gain admission to the game to sit in a socially distanced setup in the stands. The game was broadcast on the radio and live streamed.

Northeastern’s Bryce Snyder and Dover’s Andrew Chronister guided the White Roses to an early lead in the second inning.

South Western’s duo of Adam Bixler and Aaron Fry fueled a six-run seventh inning that pulled the Pirates within a run of the lead. 

New Oxford’s Logan Strausbaugh closed out the 8-6 victory for the White Roses on night one of the event. Another baseball game is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a softball doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. Thursday.

York Pirates' player Corey Wise of West York High School greets teammates during announcements at the Class of 2020 invitational baseball tournament at PeoplesBank Park Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

With the Revs’ and the high school seasons canceled, the opportunity to give a number of local athletes one final chance to step on the field, and a pretty nice field at that, presented itself, and the players were excited for a final chance to put on their uniforms in front of their families.

“I’m definitely excited to come play here,” Pridgen said. “It’s a great field. A lot of guys here are great baseball players and it’s a good chance for a lot of the seniors that had their final season taken away to step on a field one last time together.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.