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‘Crazy it got taken away’

Carson Gibbs will compete on the diamond at the college level, but his high school baseball career will always feel a bit incomplete. He was set for his senior season on the Randolph-Henry High School varsity team this spring when the 2020 campaign was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It just kind of felt like an empty spot, like I was missing out on everything I’d worked for all three (previous) years (of high school),” he said. “All three years, I have worked up to this senior year, and it was just crazy it got taken away.”

Gibbs played on the Randolph-Henry junior varsity squad as a freshman and sophomore and moved up to varsity as a junior.

Josh Barmoy, head coach of the varsity team, noted Gibbs played at first base and in right field last year.

“Carson brought a left-handed bat to our lineup,” Barmoy said. “He also brought a chemistry piece, as all six of our seniors have been playing together since they were little. Our team was a tight group that loved each other and loved to play the game.”

Gibbs said he has played it ever since he was 5 years old, starting with T-ball.

“I’ve played every season,” he said. “And it’s mostly been the same players that I graduated with, all of the other seniors.”

When asked what he missed most about the lost 2020 season, those seniors were part of what came to his mind.

“I just miss all my teammates and just bonding with them, making memories, just everything about it, really,” he said.

The Statesmen managed to play a couple preseason scrimmages before the coronavirus brought everything to a standstill. Gibbs remembered opting to ride home with his family after the last scrimmage, which was played at Tunstall High School in Danville.

“I never knew that last scrimmage would be the last time I (could) ever ride the bus home again, so I regret not riding the bus home,” he said.

He noted being fairly sure he was going to play primarily first base this past spring, but that is a position that might be available to him next spring at Averett University, where he has committed to play.

“I think it’s just between outfield and first base,” he said. “I feel like when I get there, they’ll just stick me somewhere in one of those places, and whatever I do the best at is where I’ll play.”

He expects Averett to be welcoming back students this fall while taking COVID-19 precautions. In the meantime, he has prep work to do, supplied to him by Cougars coaches.

“We have a whole workout program, and I have to lift Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and record it in this little manual I got,” he said. “I just record all that so I’ll be used to the workouts when I get there.”

He said he thinks there is a good chance he will get some quality playing time as a freshman.

“I’m definitely going to work as hard as I can to make that happen,” he said.