The baseball season just got underway, but Tuesday's game, which opens district play for Hays High School is postponed.
School leaders want to give the players time to mourn the loss of their coach 54-year-old David Null. Athletic coordinator Neal Lahue said the team will back on the diamond as soon as possible.
"I think David would want them to compete, I mean he would not want them to miss a beat. He will be up there rooting for them, he is that kind of guy, David was a passionate guy about what he did, coaching and teaching," said Lahue.
The baseball team will play in a tournament this weekend. Coach Null also was on the coaching staff for the football team, he worked with the linebackers.
David Null started coaching Hays High baseball in 2009. While his teams typically made the playoffs, Principal David Pierce says Null, who taught chemistry, was also popular because of what he did in the classroom.
"Just full of life, full of energy, always very very busy gentleman, but never too busy to stop and help a student, help another staff member just a really good all around guy," said Pierce.
At the ball field, to honor their coach, flowers were placed in the backstop netting. In the dugout, personal tributes to null were written on several baseballs. The messages came from his players and from his chemistry students.
The death of the coach is the latest in a series of tragic losses for this school district. Earlier in the school year several current and former students suddenly passed away.
Between October and January, six young lives were lost. One incident involved a recent graduate who died because of a medical condition. The other students were involved in accidents.
Charlotte Winkelmann, and her team of school counselors, has spent a lot of time helping several campuses deal with grief.
"Our counselors are trained to work with any age level student , any adult, grief counseling, we train them we bring in resource folks to help with that, and then I will do a debrief after this with the counselors to talk about how they can handle it and how they can taken care of themselves," said Winkelmann.
It can be a long healing process, like a ball season and school year. While the focus is certainly on those who were lost, it is also a time to reflect on legacy and the potential lasting impact each life can have.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.