BUSSEY, Iowa — Bussey is a blur off Highway 5, but worth a stop. People in Bussey take their baseball seriously.
“During the summer if you`re out for baseball your life is pretty much baseball,” said senior Hunter Embray.
“They`ve put in their time,”said coach Matt Miller, “so the success they have is warranted.”
In a town with limited entertainment options, America’s former pastime remains Bussey’s current pastime.
“I knew we had a lot of boys that spend time at the park, knew it was something they could take pride in, so we got carpet in one day and I tried to surprise them,” said Miller.
A few worn couches, a serviceable TV, and viola – a clubhouse.
“It`s turned into a home away from home for a lot of these young men. Some are in at 10 AM on a 6 PM game day,” said Miller.
“I think we all just like sitting here watching TV. We play ping pong, just sit chill, and talk. Become more of a family,” said Embray.
But last June, smiles disappeared, replaced by tears. “This is actually the place we were told what happened to him so this is where we started grieving.”
Twin Cedars standout athlete, Derek Springer, suffered fatal injuries in a car accident. Derek’s sudden death left his teammates shocked, and a clubhouse silent.
“We spent a lot of time talking through our feeling at time we`ve done that this year talked through things just like any family does,” said Miller.
Ideas about how to honor Derek flowed through the clubhouse. His twin brother, Dylan, still wears his brother’s hat; not to mention his likeness. Derek’s jersey is always hanging. But this team, this family, wants more for Derek. A state championship. That run starts July 15th.
“That`s one thing we want to do for Derek, for this community. Make a run at a state title,” said Embray. “He`s a part of us, he`s our angel in the outfield, he`s one of us,” echoed Parker.
Derek Springer is gone. But he remains an important part of this team. If Twin Cedars can win its first state title, it will help heal this baseball loving town.