Four Stritch seniors move on, despite opportunity lost

J. Patrick Eaken

Four Cardinal Stritch seniors will leave the baseball program not getting a chance to prove what they could do.

Ben Dunsmore, Joey McCourt, Kellen Garmon and Fransisco Ruiz saw their final season canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two, maybe three, will play collegiate baseball.

The foursome believed they had what it took to do well this year.

“I think we had good defense and we’ve been working hard to come back and win the TAAC,” Ruiz said.

Their relationships go back at least four years, and for a couple of them, even further, because they played baseball for Coach McGee even before he became varsity coach at Stritch.

“Kellen, Joey and Ben are all good friends and we’ve been together since our freshman year. We’ve played together, practiced together and we worked hard together to get to our final goals,” Ruiz said.

“When we first started baseball Coach McGee was our coach, and our freshman year he was made head coach of our (Stritch) baseball team. I was playing JV my sophomore year, and two of my friends, Ben and Joey stepped up, and helped my confidence so I could get better. It’s sad. It could have been a good season if we had played, spent our last moments together as seniors before we graduated.”

Garmon added, “When I got to Stritch, I had already known Joey because he went to Regina (Regina Coeli School) with me for most of our middle school. I grew up with him, and he grew up right down the street from me, so I knew what kind of baseball player he was. He is a good fielder, he could hit, and we were able to do a lot. We have a close relationship”

McCourt has signed to play collegiately at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, so he gets four more years. He wants his Stritch teammates to have the same opportunity. 

“I’m upset that I missed out on my senior season, but I really feel for guys like Ben and Kellen who may not get another four years or aren’t playing somewhere. I feel bad for every senior that didn’t get another year of baseball, but I really feel for those guys who won’t get to pick another one up and lace their cleats up again to go play again. There are so many of us going different places,” McCourt said.

McCourt said about the signing ceremony, “It was my team and just who I wanted there — my family, (Concordia) coach brought one of his players down and we sat there, talked to him, put a jersey on and put a hat on. It was pretty cool. My sister (Stritch grad) goes there to play volleyball right now, which is one of the reasons I went there for a visit. She loves it.”

Garmon, who has been playing baseball since he was 6 years old, has narrowed down his college baseball choices to several schools, but he would have liked another year in high school to prove himself.

“It’s a little disappointing because some coaches didn’t get to see me play and I feel like we could have done a lot this year as a team,” Garmon said. “I’m trying to play with a summer team to play a little bit before.”

Dunsmore was considering joining his brother Jeff Dunsmore by walking on to the University of Toledo baseball team, just like Jeff did, but he is now reconsidering that move. 

“These four were my senior captains. It was great to watch them turn into fine baseball players,” Stritch coach Mike McGee said. “‘Frisco’ (Ruiz) will probably attend the University of Toledo. In his four years at Cardinal Stritch he was the most improved player I have ever coached.

“They were with me from day one when I started coaching. This is my fourth year, and they were on the junior varsity and they had played summer ball with me. So, I had them quite a while. They became my extended family. I got very close to them and their parents, and this whole thing of not playing this spring is devastating. They just shut the door and it’s nobody’s fault. It’s just hard to handle,” McGee continued.

McGee thought this could have been a special season, not just because of those four, but because of a strong junior class.

“I felt like we were really going to have a good year with my junior class. I even had a freshman who was going to compete,” McGee said.

“My seniors were my captains because they knew how the right and the wrong ways of doing things were. They knew we had a lot of structure in our practices and I felt like they were going to lead us this year to do really good things. We had moved out of Division IV (to D-III) because of the enrollment, and I thought we were going to make a really good run in the tournament because of my senior leadership,” McGee said.

“They (seniors) reached out to the kids, and if they saw something wrong in practice that I didn’t see, they would stop and point it out, the little things. It made a huge difference with those guys around. Before practice, they knew what we had to get out and put in the room, what drills we were setting up, they made sure everybody stretched, they made sure they got their throwing in. As long as they were around nobody got a free pass. Like I’ve said before, it’s like I had four more coaches.” 

One of this year’s juniors, third baseman Logan Terry, was a first team All-Press awardee in voting by 10 area coaches and 10 media members as a sophomore last spring. Terry batted .327 (17 for 52) with six runs, eight RBIs and four SB. Second baseman Brayden Asman was second team, batting .345 (10 for 29) with six runs, six RBIs and three SB, and the coach’s son, Michael McGee, was an honorable mention outfielder after batting .345 (20 for 58) with six runs, 14 RBIs and four SB. The trio will be seniors next year. 

“I have seven kids coming back who are on National Honor Society. They are smart kids and I think we’ll have a nice team next year if we can just get on the field,” Coach McGee said.




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