ROCKINGHAM — While some of their classmates are enjoying a relaxing summer by the pool or at the beach, three members of the Richmond Senior baseball and football teams are “way busier than we were during school.”
Mike Rush, Mikey Steele and John Taylor are working out with the football team in the morning and after a brief break, head out to the diamond to participate with the Raider baseball team in the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League at night.
All three are expected to be with the football team during tonight’s opening 7-on-7 drills with Fairmont, Seventy-First and Union Pines. The baseball team will be on the road against Hoke County in a CCSSL game.
“It’s not a normal summer,” Steele said. “My friends are hanging out and sleeping all day. I have free time but not like some of these guys. I have been doing it for the last two years because I like to play.”
Steele started in right field during Richmond’s CCSSL contest with Hoke County before moving to the mound in the fourth inning. Steele hurled three scoreless innings in relief of starter James Buie in a 1-0 victory as the Raiders improved to 6-0.
“There are a few days when I want to stay in bed,” Steele said. “Summer can get boring because you aren’t around your friends. I come out here and I’m with my friends and then I go to football and I’m with my friends there.”
While Steele is using the summer to keep himself occupied, Taylor hopes to benefit from the double duty and return from an injury suffered during the junior varsity baseball season.
“I like it because it is going to help me get back and get my knee stronger,” Taylor said. “Mentally it is draining. With football all I have to do is run out there and hit somebody. I have to think in baseball about what I have to do. Sometimes I’m so drained that if I sit down, I don’t want to get back up.
“I love both sports, I do what I have to do.”
Rush admits he carries what happens on one field over to the next.
“I’m hard on myself,” Rush said. “If I had a bad game, I am thinking about it during football. It can be taxing on the mind.”
Rush added he is excited when the middle of the week rolls around because that is when his schedule is a little more wide open.
“I like Wednesday because all I have to do is lift,” Rush said. “I really look forward to that but this week things are different because of the 7-on-7s.”
Richmond will play host to two additional 7-on-7 scrimmages this week, Wednesday (Albemarle and South Johnson) and Thursday (Grimsley, St. Pauls and Union Pines).
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com