Karen Jones had been trying to prepare her son for the possibility for the last two weeks.
“We were hopeful until just really this last week, then it his us. ‘Oh my gosh, you're not going to get to play,'” Karen said. “I told him if we didn't hear by Tuesday probably, you're going to have to go turn in your uniform. We can't keep pretending that you're going to get to play because it's probably not going to happen and somebody else needs to be practicing in that spot.”
The Rattan baseball team has been a big part of the Jones' life for much of the last four years.
The kids on the team have been part of it for longer.
“Half of them spend time at my house all the time,” Karen said. “They're like my kids too. I've known them all their lives. I'm proud of all of them, not just because my son's on the team.”
So Andy and Karen plan on being there when Rattan resumes the tournament against Cashion — whenever that is.
“We've been doing this four years watching them boys and we're not going to stop now,” Andy said. “All these boys want to do now is play ball and get them a ring.”
Brandon knows he'll be on the minds of everyone on the Rattan side when the games are finally played.
“A bunch of my teammates are really upset,” he said. “They've all been thanking me and stuff for going to fight for our country, telling me they'll do their best to win one for me.”
Cordell has tried to keep his team focused throughout the last month, as it continues to practice with no idea when Rattan will be able to play again.
But Cordell's focus has been hard to maintain of late as Jones' reporting date crept closer.
“I'm honored that I got to coach him,” Cordell said. “I'm proud of the choice he made to enlist. The Army's getting a great kid. I just wish the best for him. It won't be the same for my players to go out and play without him. Hopefully we'll win the championship for him.”