Semoball

SENIOR RECOGNITION: Sikeston baseball players reflect on careers with Bulldogs

Sikeston baseball players (from left to right): Payton Howard, Clark Steward, Kadin Wilburn, Preston Alexander, and Hayden Alcorn pose for a picture at VFW Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.
Alex Wallner/Standard Democrat

SIKESTON — With the cancellation of spring athletics for the 2020 season, seniors in the Standard-Democrat coverage are not able to have final moments with their teammates.

Below is the second part of a series of stories on recognizing senior athletes, where they are going next, what they loved most about playing their respective sport at their school, and more.

The series continues with the Sikeston baseball team. The Bulldogs had five seniors on the roster.

“How successful they were in high school,” said Sikeston head coach Brett Kolons on what he’s going to remember the most about his senior class. “They didn’t get a chance to compete their senior year, but they’ve had a heck of a three years leading up to it, and the time that they did get during their senior year.”

Hayden Alcorn, Pitcher, Infielder

Hayden Alcorn

Other sports, activities, and clubs… One year on the boys' soccer team, one year on the junior varsity boys basketball team, two years on the varsity football team; Student Council, FBLA, DECA, Principal Advisory Committee, the Bulldog Leadership Team, Baseball Leadership Council, Sikeston Bleacher Bums, Summa Cum Laude, National Honor Society

Plans after high school… Attending Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss., and has an undecided major.

Favorite baseball memory… “Last year when we knocked off Notre Dame in the district title. Nate pitched a great game, and it was awesome.”

Advice for underclassmen… “Keep working hard, even when people aren’t watching and when you think you’re working hard enough, you’re not, keep working harder.”

What got you interested in baseball… “When I was two or three, I would take a whiffle ball bat and just hit. I progressed from there. I’ve always loved watching it. My dad would always watch it.”

Clark Steward, Pitcher/Infielder/Outfielder

Clark Steward

Other sports, activities, and clubs… Three years on the boys’ soccer team, four years on the boys’ basketball team; Sikeston Bleacher Bums, FCA, FBLA, National Honor Society, Junior Optimist Club, Link Crew, ACT 30+ Club

Plans after high school… Attending Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss., and majoring in civil engineering.

Favorite baseball memory… “Freshman year district championship against Notre Dame, playing first base. We were tied, runner on first, and I had a line drive hit right at me. I was barely able to react, but I somehow caught it.”

Advice for underclassmen… “Play every game like it’s your last because you never know when it will be your last. My last game ended up being my sophomore year, and when I played, I never would have expected that that would be my last game.”

What got you interested in baseball… “My dad got me interested in baseball from a young age. He played baseball in high school, and he played baseball after high school. So, from a young age, we were out in the yard playing baseball.”

Payton Howard, Pitcher/Infielder/Outfielder

Payton Howard

Other sports, activities, and clubs… Four years on the boys’ basketball team; Link Crew

Plans after high school… Attending Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo., and majoring in physical therapy. He is also playing on the baseball team.

Favorite baseball memory… “Freshman year, winning districts, and being the winning run.”

Advice for underclassmen… “Don’t take anything for granted. Just play your hardest, and obviously, stuff can happen, like it did this year, and you never know, so play your hardest.”

What got you interested in baseball… “My brother played it. I grew up around it.”

Preston Alexander, Pitcher/Outfielder

Preston Alexander

Plans after high school… Attending Three Rivers College, in Poplar Bluff, Mo., and then transferring to Southeast Missouri State University, in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and majoring in graphic design.

Favorite baseball memory… “When we won districts last year, and we had that ‘Bang’ party after.”

What got you interested in baseball… “I think it’s because my dad played softball, and I always went to his games. I just liked it, and I was good at it, so I just kept playing.”

Kadin Wilburn, Pitcher/Infielder/Outfielder

Kadin Wilburn

Other sports, activities, and clubs… Sikeston Bleacher Bums

Plans after high school… Attending Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and majoring in agriculture business.

Favorite baseball memory… “Winning districts last year.”

Advice for underclassmen… “Cherish every moment.”

What got you interested in baseball… “I’ve been playing since I was five.”

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