Career-ending injury won’t keep former baseball player away from BHS program


Tyler Hotz

Bearden junior Hancen Sale has a laugh with assistant coach Jack Tate this week. Sale will help out Bearden’s coaching staff this year.

Tyler Hotz, Staff Writer

Even though baseball season is still a semester away, Bearden is gathering up all the possible knowledge they can in order to make this season as successful as possible.

And this time, guidance and intelligence will stem from a new perspective, yet a familiar face.

Junior and former Bearden baseball player Hancen Sale suffered an injury that ultimately led to the end of his high school baseball career. He fractured his L-4 vertebrae during his freshman year and aggravated it again after his freshman season.

“He’s suffered a debilitating back injury that’s made it to where pursuing a dream that he’s probably had since being a kid [is not possible],” BHS Coach John Rice said. “Sadly, it just didn’t work out for him.”

In the early fall, after Sale decided it wasn’t in his best interest to play, he and Coach Rice sat down to discuss possible ways he could still be an influential part of the team. Sale proposed some ideas and Coach Rice discussed them with the rest of the Bulldog staff. In the end, he was appointed to be an assistant to the coaching staff.

“I was excited [to help] because I didn’t want to be totally away from the baseball scene,” Sale said. “I think it’s a perfect fit for me.”

Sale has many new responsibilities that are different than what he did as a player. In addition, he has new opportunities to reveal his character.

“He helps out with charting bullpens and taking care of the field,” junior Sean Walsh said. “He is an excellent umpire during our intrasquad games.

“Also, he knows the game, so he helps out players whenever we have questions.”

The job also comes with a few benefits that he didn’t have as a player.

“I get to make fun of Coach Rice now and not have any penalty for it,” Sale said. “It’s very rewarding.”

Sale’s sociable, outgoing personality – the junior is also appearing in Bearden’s production of Footloose – makes him a good fit for the position. Players and coaches alike rave about his knowledge of the game and his positive attitude.

“Hancen is a person that has great, dynamic relationships with everyone in our program,” Coach Rice said. “He has the ability to cut up with anybody in our program.

“He has a great character and demeanor that makes players want to be around him.”