Alex Hurd had a stellar sophomore season with the Whetstone baseball team and was intent on having an even better season this spring.
But then the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic hit, resulting in the OHSAA canceling the spring sports season.
"It kind of sucks," said Hurd, a junior second baseman/shortstop. "You just want to get out there and play a sport that you love, but this virus is stopping everything."
Hurd is now looking ahead to his senior year. He will aim to improve on last season, when he batted .354 with 18 RBI and a team-best 35 runs scored to help the Braves finish 18-7 overall and 11-1 in the City League-North Division and capture their eighth consecutive City championship.
"Alex would have batted either in the one or two hole (this year)," coach Tim Broskie said. "With his speed and ability to work the count and also his ability to bunt, he would have helped us in the top of the order."
Broskie also praised Hurd's versatility in the field.
"He can play any of the outfield positions and also first base, if needed," Broskie said. "He has clearly gotten better during his years in the program, and he works very hard in the summer months, fall and even winter."
Despite his success at the plate last season, Hurd believes he has room to improve as a hitter. He cited a minor slump he endured toward the end of last season before going 3-for-4 with three RBI in a 12-0, five-inning win over Briggs in the City title game.
"I could really improve on the consistency of my hitting," he said.
In addition to baseball, Hurd plays basketball and football for Whetstone. He is a guard on the boys basketball team and the starting quarterback of the football team. Last fall, he completed 109 of 196 passes for 1,148 yards with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, as the Braves went 3-7 overall and 2-4 record in the City-North.
Competing in three sports has helped Hurd become a better athlete and keeps him prepared year-round for what comes next.
"It helps me stay in shape," he said. "After one sport, you have to go to another."
According to Hurd, playing three sports also has helped with his hand-eye coordination.
"My hand-eye coordination is really nice," he said. "In sports, your hand-eye coordination has to be solid, so I just feel like I have to stay solid and keep my head down and work."
One of his best attributes as an athlete, Hurd said, is his ability to stay humble.
"I don't get involved in the hype. You can't get too involved in that," he said. "It'll eat you alive. You always want to put your head down and work. You don't want to be overhyped and not show (up).
"Our school is probably the underdogs. Just coming from that, you have to work for what you want, and I work for what I want."
Hurd is confident that the baseball team will contend for another City championship next spring. But he also would like to see the Braves advance further in the Division I district tournament.
Last season, Whetstone lost in the first round, falling 2-1 to Westerville South.
"They knocked us off in the first round last year," Hurd said. "It was a pretty good game, but I want to go on and keep playing baseball."