Three fire trucks and Otis Sampson American Legion Post 59 saluted the seniors on the Stoughton baseball team with a drive-by parade Sunday, June 28, at Norse Park.
Ten players lined up at Norse Park with American Legion members flanking them. It was a way for the Stoughton Baseball Association and the seniors’ parents to honor the players after their season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To have all three fire trucks and the vets standing with us was great,” left fielder Derek Karlen said. “To be around the team in the baseball spirit, I don’t know if we will ever play again together. It was nice to get some closure.”
Stoughton finished 4-18 overall and 2-12 in the Badger South Conference last year. The WIAA Board of Control voted to cancel spring sports competition at its April 21 meeting.
“Last year wasn’t the season any of us wanted,” Karlen said. “We were coming into this season with something to prove and we didn’t even get a chance. We wanted to come back and see how far we could go.”
Karlen, who plans to major in engineering, might also try out for the baseball team at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville or Madison College.
Ryan Ellingson was set to start at shortstop for Stoughton. He plans to continue his playing career at Division III Lakeland University in Plymouth.
Ellingson was excited to see the community’s support with the parade.
“It was great they still wanted to turn out for us, go out and do something special and show their support for us,” he said. “It was heartbreaking to not have a baseball season this spring.”
Ellingson plans to be a third baseman and pitcher at Lakeland.
“It’s always been my goal to go out and play at the next level,” he said. “It will make me go out and play even harder next year.”