This was supposed to have been a breakout year for Ponca City Wildcat pitcher Aaron Hosack.
Hosack has been a fouryear starter for the Wildcats and his past efforts had drawn the attention of college scouts. But this was supposed to have been his year.
Like senior athletes in spring sports all over Oklahoma, he won’t have a chance to complete his last year due to the state’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Schools have been closed for the remainder of the school year and as a consequence all spring sports have been suspended.
Hosack gave a glimmer of what might have been during the two games in which he pitched. In a game in Muskogee, Hosack won a 3-1 decision pitching seven innings and allowing only three hits. His second game was similar, in which the Wildcats defeated Jenks 2-1, again with Hosack outpitching a top-flight Jenks hurler. In his first two, and only two, games of the season, Hosack had allowed only one earned run.
“It is disappointing,” he said about the shortened season. “I was really looking forward to having my best season. I was really looking forward to our finally playing really good teams like Bixby and Owasso.”
Bixby and Owasso, annually among the better teams in the state, were assigned to the Wildcats’ district this year.
Even though there won’t be a full senior season for Hosack, he more than likely hasn’t seen his last action on the mound. He has signed a letter-of-intent to play next year at Connors State College in Warner, a traditionrich program.
As a four-year starter, he has lots of memories to look back on.
The one memory that stands above the rest involves a situation that took place his sophomore season.
The Wildcats were assigned to a Regional Tournament in Enid and had drawn Enid in the opening game. The assignment was a daunting one as Enid had compiled a 24-4 record and was expected to waltz through the Regional and quite likely go deep into the State Tournament. Hosack was given the task of pitching against the powerful Plainsmen and turned in a sterling performance. For the most part, he frustrated the Enid batters for the entire game and Ponca City won 2-1.
“On the bus ride home, we celebrated when we heard Enid had been beaten by Tulsa Union and was eliminated from the tournament,” he said.
Ponca City eventually was eliminated from the same tournament, but the big upset over Enid still stands as his most precious memory.
Hosack’s brother Ricky was a standout pitcher for Shidler High School. Eight years older than Aaron, Ricky went on to pitch for Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. Behind Ricky’s efforts, Shidler made a trip to the Class B State Tournament.
There has always been a friendly competition between the brothers.
“I am always trying to oneup my brother,” Aaron said. Connors State had recruited Ricky, but he chose to go to Tonkawa instead.
“When Connors recruited Ricky, I liked them better than NOC,” Aaron said. “I decided then that if I had a chance to play there, I would.”
Aaron and his parents, Richard and Janice, live on the same farm as they did when Ricky attended Shidler High School. Aaron said that he chose to attend Ponca City High School because of academics. “Ponca City had some advanced classes that I couldn’t get at Shidler. Baseball was better, too.”
As far as academics go during the suspension of the school year, Hosack is in good shape. He has completed his required courses for graduation and is taking an online college course.
When he received a telephone call to set up an interview for this story, he replied by text that he was out building a new fence row and would return the call when he was finished. Working on the family farm is something that is a part of his present and he expects it to be a part of his future.
“My dad isn’t able to do as much as he once did, my brother has a full-time job, so I need to help out,” he said. His helping out will extend to his college days. “I will come home on weekends to do farm work. Ricky did it. I am trying to one-up him, but he has set a pretty high bar.”
Hard work is a mark of who Aaron Hosack has been. He has always been a promising pitcher, but in his younger years in high school, he struggled while batting. But through lots of work, he had developed into one of the team’s most productive hitters.
“That is true of almost everything,” he said. “What it takes to be successful is a lot of hard work.”