MIAA baseball notebook: Callahan stays positive despite season-ending injury
WORCESTER - Christian Callahan was right where he wanted to be Saturday morning - on the state's biggest stage with his Monument Mountain baseball team in the MIAA Division III championship.
"It's a dream come true, to be standing here on Holy Cross' field," the senior pitcher said. "This is what we wanted. I know, for the seniors we've wanted this as long as we've been in high school."
Callahan, though, has been forced to watch the Spartans' run to the state final from the dugout, his right arm in a sling.
He injured his right elbow late in the regular season against Mount Greylock, forcing Tommy John surgery and nerve reconstruction in the elbow. That dual procedure will happen July 16, according to Callahan.
"I was pitching against Greylock and I felt a pop in my elbow," Callahan said. "[Infielder] Dominic [DeFelice's] dad is an orthopedic [specialist]. He looked at my elbow and said, 'You've got to get it checked out.'
"I was really bummed out. Being a senior and winning Western Mass. for the first time, I wanted to be out there just as bad as everybody else did. There's no words to describe how bad I feel about it."
Despite the injury, Callahan has stayed with the team - and stayed in his. No. 17 uniform - throughout both the Western Mass. and state tournaments. He's proclaimed himself as Monument's "No. 1 fan."
Win or lose Saturday, Callahan - who will attend the University of Vermont in the fall - has enjoyed the ride.
"We've been us," he said as his team warmed up before the game. "We're not out here to go and win everything. We're out here to have fun."
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This week's state tournament run is just the second for infielder Nate Cormier this year. In the winter, he was one of five Spartan wrestlers to qualify for the MIAA Division III state tournament. Cormier took third place at 120 pounds in the Western Mass. tournament, which Monument won as a team.
His brother Stephen, also on the Spartan baseball roster, was also a state wrestling qualifier at 132 pounds.
Nate Cormier was 0 for 2 on Saturday, but drew a bases-loaded walk to score a run in the second inning.
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Monument's run to the state baseball final is just the latest in a string of Spartan successes - both this spring and throughout the 2013-14 school year.
The boys and girls tennis teams both claimed Western Mass. Division III championships before falling in this week's state semifinals. The boys track and field team, having rolled through Berkshire County dual meets, won the Central-Western Mass. Division II team championship two weeks ago.
It's a level of success that longtime Monument athletic director Paul Gibbons says he hasn't seen before.
"Not in my lifetime at Monument. Not in one season," Gibbons said as he watched the state baseball final Saturday. "I think it's a tribute to the coaches, their dedication and the kids doing the same thing. It's just been a great year for our school, our kids and our coaches."
Indeed, the Spartans' big spring comes after the wrestling team claimed county and Western Mass. championships in the winter, and the boys and girls cross country teams both qualified for states in the fall.
Gibbons won't judge success solely by championships, though.
"Something that's even a better measurement of how good an athletic program is the number of kids that participate in the sports," he said.
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