Conner Hudson has been playing American Legion Baseball for the past three years, knowing many of the players on his team since he was five. This summer was his last season to play as an outfielder for St. Michael American Legion Saints Post 551 in Johnstown, Pa., and it was cut short.
He left Monday, June 25, for basic training in Fort Knox, Ky.
“It’s a little disappointing for me because I know that this is my final season to play Legion Baseball, and I really loved it. But I feel it’s the right time for me to go, and it’s what I want to do,” said Hudson to The Tribune-Democrat. “… I want to make my family proud.”
St. Michael Coach Matt Gramling said, “Conner was the ultimate team player. He always looked out for what was best for the team. It didn't matter what role he was asked to play, he did it without complaint. One thing you could always count on Conner to do was give 100 percent. Whether it was running down a fly ball in the outfield or running bases, Conner did it at full speed. He was first on the field and sprinted off the field after every inning.”
Together, Gramling and his father, Denny, have been coaching the St. Michael team for the past 20 years. Gramling said that Legion Baseball “has all the elements of team sports (teamwork, dedication, hard work, communication, etc.) and adds in service and patriotism. We also work closely with the Legionnaires at Post 551; they really do a lot to support our team. Patriotism, honor and baseball is a great combination.”
For the players of St. Michael to see patriotism from one of their own, Gramling said, “Our players know how much Conner sacrificed to go to the service. The other players know how much he loves baseball.
“I believe they realize how much dedication he has to our country to leave at this point in our season. Our team supports him fully and we are proud to have such a wonderful young man represent our area and, specifically, our team in the armed forces.”