July 2, 2021

Providence’s baseball team lives its dream at Victory Field

The baseball team of Our Lady of Providence High School in Clarksville poses for a photo in celebration of its Indiana High School Athletic Association 2A state championship win at Victory Field in Indianapolis on June 21. (Submitted photo by Amy Lorenz)

The baseball team of Our Lady of Providence High School in Clarksville poses for a photo in celebration of its Indiana High School Athletic Association 2A state championship win at Victory Field in Indianapolis on June 21. (Submitted photo by Amy Lorenz)

By John Shaughnessy

As a player and a coach, Scott Hutchins has learned one of the brutal realities of sports.

It’s a reality that he shared often this year with the players he has coached on the varsity baseball team of Our Lady of Providence High School in Clarksville.

In his first full season as head coach of the team, Hutchins continually asked his 21 players to work hard, to be good teammates, to make a commitment every day to get better—all with the goal of winning a state championship at Victory Field in Indianapolis at the end of the season.

And every time he asked them to give more, to be tougher, to sacrifice everything for the team—and they did—he also reminded them of one of the brutal realities of sports.

“Working really hard doesn’t guarantee you’ll reach your goals,” Hutchins told them. “It’s a lot to ask to make the commitment, to put in the work, and to know your heart can be broken.”

In high school sports in Indiana, nearly all teams end their seasons in heartbreak. Yet on the evening of June 21, the Providence baseball team lived its dream, winning the Indiana High School Athletic Association 2A state championship, beating the team from Eastside High School 4-0 at Victory Field.

“It can be scary to put that much into something, and it doesn’t work out. But when it does, it’s a level of joy you don’t forget,” Hutchins says. “To see the joy on the players’ faces is unforgettable.”

So was the response from the Providence community, as a brigade of Blue Pride fans made the trip from southern Indiana for the championship game—and so many others sent texts and e-mails congratulating Hutchins and the team.

“As wonderful as it was on the field after the game, it was just as wonderful the number of texts and e-mails I received from former players and students,” says Hutchins, who teaches Advanced Placement Chemistry at the school, serves as an assistant principal and was an assistant baseball coach at Providence for 23 years. “That’s what matters—creating relationships with people.”

Hutchins called upon one of those relationships at a defining moment early in the season when the team was struggling. In its first seven games, the team won just two. And while part of that record was connected to its challenging early schedule, what troubled Hutchins was that “we weren’t tough enough, we weren’t being good teammates.”

So the head coach enlisted a former player from Providence’s 2016 state championship team to talk to this year’s players.

“He was a senior [in 2016] and a good player. He didn’t play much, but he was the epitome of being a great teammate. That’s why we asked him to talk about his experience,” Hutchins recalls. “He just talked about how important it is to be a good teammate and how he saw his role on the team.

“That was a big part of our season. We just had to focus on everyone learning their role on the team. Once we sorted out those things, our season took off.”

From there, the team won 21 of its last 23 games, running the tournament table with the state championship. And Hutchins said they accomplished that feat because of the two qualities that had been missing early in the season.

“Their toughness stands out. They ended up being the toughest group of kids I could imagine,” their head coach says. “And they’re just good teammates. They like each other. They cheer for each other. They just enjoyed being together.”

Their joy overflowed at Victory Field after the state championship game, a celebration marked by hugs, high-fives and a huge pile of bodies jumping on each other.

Less than 24 hours after that defining win, four of the teammates were in the Providence gym, doing summer workouts as part of the school’s basketball team. And while Hutchins kept trying to acknowledge all the texts and e-mails of congratulations that he received, he also mowed the outfield grass and worked on the bullpen area of the Providence field.

Life goes on. So does the sweetness of winning a state championship. †

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