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Portal baseball seniors sidelined after promising start

We continue to salute the seniors student athletes of the class of 2020 who had their season ended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today we honor the seniors at Portal High School.

The Portal baseball team went winless in 2019, but had already won four games this season before things came to a halt. First year head coach Russ Winter shared his thoughts on seniors Blaise Murphy, Seth Parrish, Blake Hendrix, Dax Reddick, Roy Burroughs and Brennen Smith.

“Blaise grew into a natural leader through his productivity at the plate and on the mound,” Winter said. “We had some guys injured and inactive early in the season, and he was willing to step into whatever position we needed to fill. His leadership qualities have grown over the past few months, and his season was sure to shine.”

“Seth is an all around stellar young man with a bright future ahead of him,” Winter said. “He was my go to for getting mechanical work done around the park, and I am going to miss not having him helping work on the roll away or welding up the tamp. Seth was a team player, and put in the hard work day in and day out with little playing time. When the Portal Panthers find nine guys with Seth’s attitude, we will be a tough team to beat.”

“Blake started off behind the plate for us, but his athletic abilities led him to becoming more of a utility guy around the diamond,” Winter said. “Blake could fill in at any position and perform strong. He was a core of this 2020 baseball team, and I believe he would have increased his productivity as the season progressed. I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw a future Coach Blake Hendrix working with some young baseball players someday.”

“Roy is a three sport athlete competing in football and basketball prior to the baseball season,” Winter said. “He got a late start on the season after the basketball season ended, and unfortunately didn’t see the field much with all of the rainouts and unforeseen stoppage of the season. Roy will be remembered as a team first player who had your back in a tough spot.”

“Brennen is a natural leader on and off the field,” Winter said. “His commitment to this program has been exceptional over the past year. This team will greatly miss him next year. I look forward to seeing him be successful in the next chapters of his life.”

“Dax came on the baseball team as a pitcher only after basketball season ended,” Winter said. “We were working around his basketball goals as well as his performance on the golf team. Dax did a great job being a part of this team, and unfortunately did not see the number of innings on the mound due to the unfortunate circumstances that have fallen on the 2020 season. Dax and I still have a golf challenge on the table. He has a great head on his shoulder and I foresee him being successful in his future endeavors.”

On the golf course Reddick was the lone senior, and was looking forward to many tournaments, as well as the opportunity to compete once again in the state tournament as an individual. Coach Joe Bettinger gave his feelings on Reddick, and what he has meant to the program.

“Dax has been a three year letter winner,” Bettinger said. “He advanced to the Class-A state tournament his 10th and 11th grade seasons. He qualified for state individually last year  by finishing in the top five at our Region tourney. He also finished second individually at the Bulloch County championship against Statesboro High, Southeast Bulloch and Bulloch Academy.”