The Raider Way. It’s something that is described as “showing respect for the other team, no matter what, and doing the right thing no matter what,” according to Midway’s head baseball coach, Jason Fussell.
With a tied score of 1-1 in the top of the sixth inning last Saturday, Midway and Edenton Holmes were locked in as heated of a game as there could be. It was the state playoffs, and a trip to the third round was on the line. Although the Raiders would eventually lose the game 4-3, there was one play, that had nothing to do with athleticism or baseball at all, that made Midway fans extremely proud.
While standing in the on deck circle, Raider second baseman Greg Nobles watched teammate Austin Raynor lay down a sacrifice bunt. During the play, Raynor’s cleat inadvertently hit the Aces’ first baseman’s leg. Injured, he tried to walk off the field. When he got near the third baseline, he began falling, and Nobles’ upbringing took over.
“I saw him start to go down to ground, and I just ran over there to help him up,” said Nobles. “I didn’t really think about it, it ws just kind of an instinct of mine. Growing up around here, and being raised the right way, and knowing the Raider Way, it was just second nature for me to go over and to help him up. When I helped him to their dugout, a few of his teammates came over and helped us get him where he needed to go.”
After the scene took place, Nobles stepped into the batter’s box and roped a two-run single into the outfield to give the Raiders a 3-1 lead. Although the lead would eventually go away in the bottom half of the inning, and the Midway season would end in the next, they left the game with something to be proud of.
“Greg is first off a great kid with a big heart,” continued Fussell. “All of these kids are really good kids. They want the best for each other, they want to play good ball, and they work hard to get there. I have coached a lot of great teams, and we always have great kids, but top to bottom, I don’t know if I have coached a team with better kids all the way through than our team this year.”
The picture, taken by Sampson Independent sports writer, Daron Barefoot, found its way to Facebook on Saturday night. Quickly, the reaction blew up, and many commented with something referring to what Nobles did as being, “the Raider Way”.
“That means a lot to me,” said Nobles. “It is a great honor to be called a good player, but saying I carry around the name of this great school in a positive way, that really means a lot. The emotions were all over the place during the game, and it didn’t turn out like we wanted it to, but the support from everybody throughout the ups and downs of the season has been incredible to say the least.”
Midway went on a tear following Easter break, and turned their season around to finish in second place in the Four County Conference. They will carry momentum and positive vibes into next season, as they return everyone with the exception of one senior.
Reach Adam Capps at 910-214-9585