HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s baseball season and the fans are back.
Cheering baseball fans filled the stands over the weekend in Hattiesburg at the Southern Miss game.
Shea Crosby was one of those fans. She has been missing her baseball because after what both players and supporters have been through in the COVID shutdown, this freedom to cheer is a breath of fresh air.
“Just the sights, the sounds, the smells,” said Crosby. “Everything to be able to experience a baseball game. To hear the ball come off the bat. To be able to watch them warm up. Just to be able to experience a baseball game.”
Crosby is the mother of Southern Miss freshman infielder Cade Crosby, who played at Gulfport High School last year before games were stopped cold.
“I would say the word would be devastating,” said Crosby. “Not being able to go through each game and each emotion and see where the team was going to go. It was heartbreaking.”
It was the same for Southern Miss fan Bob Norris of Long Beach.
“When you’re so accustomed and used to certain things and they go away, you get really down and depressed about it,” said Norris. “And that’s where I was.”
But now, he’s back to loving his baseball in person.
“I’m here to watch a real baseball game that has some bearing on the university and the team itself,” said Norris.
For Cade Crosby, the fan support is energizing.
“Oh, it means the world that we have fans,” said Cade. “It’s a big difference maker, especially at home games, you know. Having the crowd with us and behind us all the time. Just a big difference in that way.”
Teammate Blake Johnson, who also played at Gulfport High, remembers well what COVID did to his game last year.
“It was heartbreaking whenever they told us the season was canceled,” said Johnson. “We were looking forward to a lot. To hear it was going to be over, it broke everybody’s heart.”
And as a catcher, he really gets a kick out of the fan reaction.
“Absolutely,” Johnson said. “They bring the energy. We live off of it. We feed off of it. We have a great time in the dugout among ourselves. We bring our own energy, but they really contribute to it. It’s always funny to hear people in the stands giving the umpires a hard time. I get to hear the umpire’s opinion and the fan’s opinion.”