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‘UnPHILtered’: Indiana State baseball coach shares special moment with son on Senior Day

UnPHILtered: Father and son square off on baseball senior day

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WISH) — It wasn’t an ordinary game for Indiana State head baseball coach Mitch Hannahs. Not by a long shot.

His team was minutes away from playing in conference rival Valparaiso, a school they play often, but this game was different. Hannahs’ son, Kaleb, spent his college career playing for Valparaiso. 

“Those games, I’ll cherish forever even though we didn’t win any of them they were very memorable Games,” Kaleb said. “When you get to go to school and say your dad coach’s baseball for his job, you’re automatically one of the coolest growing up.”

The difference between this game and all of the other times that the father and son’s teams squared off was Senior Day. 

“I knew it wasn’t going to be very fun going up to Valpo because I know the emotions of senior day,” Mitch Hannahs said.

With the first pitch a few minutes away, the Hannahs family walked to home plate of Emory G. Bauer Field. Kaleb in his Valparaiso brown and gold. Mitch in his Indiana State blue and white. That’s when mitch removed his Indiana State cap and replaced it with a Valpo hat.

“We have a very close friend who passed away over the winter right before the season started, very close to me probably my best friend, as close to Kaleb as any of my kids, and Kaleb had given him that hat,” Mitch said. “So, that was his hat that I actually put on.”

The emotional moments didn’t stop there, in the bottom of 3rd inning, Valpo down 5-1, Kaleb stepped to the plate.

And like a script From a movie, Kaleb crushed a homerun to left field. For a moment, the game meant nothing.

The moment meant everything.

“After he rounded the bases, I couldn’t help it, but I was beaming inside, even though I couldn’t show emotion,” Mitch said.

“Yeah, that was pretty special, because obviously everyone always asks, ‘Are you gonna be rooting for your son whenever you play?’ And obviously he’s always going to say no, but just standing there and watching him put that hat on, I knew he might not show it, but he still roots for me.”

The Indiana State Sycamores would go onto win the game, but for the Hannahs family, the day was bigger than baseball. 

Reflection and perspective are two realities that most parents constantly face, and Mitch shared some words of advice for those out there raising young athletes. 

“You know, as a parent, we would sure love do-overs, even as a coach, a lot of times, and I think if I had to do it over again, I would tell parents to enjoy and embrace the competition, and the game, and truly enjoy competing against an opponent, and not get caught up in the results, because the highs become high and the lows become low if you do that, and I think you lose a love for the game,” Mitch said

Well said, Coach. Well said, indeed.