Rivals Come Together
Eastern Christian High School and Hawthorne Christian Academy combined baseball teams for a full season in spring of 2021 due to a lack of players in both schools.
The two schools have been rivals for as long as anyone can remember and tensions are almost always present between them. All members of the combined team wore HCA jerseys, and a hat was made combining the two schools. All practices and home games were held at HCA on the turf field. The new team finished the season with a record of 10-8, notching a county game win against Passaic Valley along the way.
Zach Devries, senior, had his first high school baseball experience with the combined team. When asked about his experience, he said it was a little weird since the two schools have so many rivalries and so much history. Thinking about future success, he joked,
“We have a lot of young players with potential like Charlie Veenema who hits dingers.”
Elle Rishko, a senior who transferred to EC from HCA when high school started, also shared some thoughts about the combined team. She also said that she found it a little weird to combine because of our other rivalries, but she thinks we may end up teaming up for more activities in the future with both of the schools being so small.
Jake Faasse, a senior, experienced both the combined team last year, and the EC only team freshmen year. He says he enjoyed some of the people he met through this new team, specifically mentioning Ryan Smith, who graduated from HCA, as one of his favorites. He also mentioned some internal issues with the team, with some people wanting division instead of a unified team which is something to work on. He thinks the two teams will stay combined for at least the next two years. When asked which version of the team he liked better, he said
“We’re just playing baseball, who cares?”