Anyone in attendance of the recent baseball game between Eastside and Henry County High Schools walked away inspired. It wasn’t what happened during the game that touched them but what happened just before the first pitch was thrown.
Less than a week before EHS faced HCHS on the diamond, the Eastside High School’s baseball team experienced tragedy up close. One of their player’s Father suffered a medical emergency during a home game and passed away as a result.
Eastside pitcher Michael Hipps, Jr’s first game back since his Father’s passing took place against Henry County. Before the game the home team released balloons in honor of Mr. Hipps. The game was then supposed to continue as normal, however what happened next was far from the norm.
Henry County High School senior Jo Vaal Hollingshed was the first batter of the game and he made his normal walk to the batter’s box, but before the first pitch was thrown Michael, Jo Vaal stepped away from the plate, laid his bat down and headed toward the pitcher’s mound.
Jo then reached out to hug his opponent, shook his hand, and offered his condolences for the loss of his father. The two returned to their respective positions and the game commenced.
As a result of this amazing show of sportsmanship, Newton County Schools’ Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey traveled with staff and Eastside High School principal Jeff Cher to extend the Newton County Schools Superintendent’s Coin of Distinction to Jo during the Henry County Schools’ Board of Education meeting on April 10.
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