Two Robertson County baseball products have taken their talents over 600 miles to continue playing the sport this summer.
Former Springfield and Jo Byrns standouts Noah Waltz and Rudy Tucker are spending the month of June in South Carolina as members of the Myrtle Beach League. The MBL is a month-long wooden-bat league geared toward NAIA and junior college players.
“We knew that college summer ball would be an option once we kind of figured out that we were going to go play collegiate ball,” Waltz said. “We just stayed in touch and found this league and decided to come make the most of it.
“Rudy and I talk all the time, and we actually kind of came across this league almost by accident. He let me know that one of his coaches was coming down here, so we signed up and here we are.”
The duo has played with or against each other as far back as their Dixie Youth days, but it wasn’t until a summer spent with Pleasant View’s Throwbacks Baseball Club that their bond became what it is today.
“We grew very close and we started hanging out a lot,” Tucker said. “We just grew as teammates, grew as athletes and better people off the field. Now look at us, we're sharing a king-sized bed in Myrtle Beach."
“Finally getting to play with him, (I) respect him as a competitor and also as a teammate,” Waltz added. “We love having fun and we both just love the game of baseball. We definitely make the most of it when we can."
Both players committed to NAIA programs, with Tucker choosing to play at Freed-Hardeman following a 2019 campaign that saw him post a .267 batting average and a .387 on-base percentage. Waltz carried a 1.58 ERA and 45 strikeouts as a junior at Springfield before committing to Trinity International.
Both players had differing freshman campaigns in college, but it was their close connection that benefited them through their first fall semester. Waltz appeared as a pitcher, second baseman and third baseman in 22 games. He was the fourth most used pitcher innings-wise by the Trojans and held a .231 batting average.
Meanwhile, 17 total seniors and two graduating catchers on Freed-Hardeman’s roster resulted in Tucker redshirting this spring. While he was grateful to have made the decision in retrospect, Tucker and Waltz talked with one another almost every day to make it through the school year.
“Me and Noah just kept in touch, just making sure that he still liked it up at Trinity and (was) still just enjoying the game of baseball,” Tucker said. “You can always reach out to him, he's just a great person and a great friend that I can always count on for anything."
Through their first four games with the MBL’s Ocean Breeze, Waltz collected four hits with five RBIs, and Tucker had seen time at catcher, pitcher and first and second base. The Breeze have yet to roll out the all-Robertson County battery of Waltz and Tucker to this point.
Through sharing the diamond this summer, competing for playing time with their respective schools this fall and possibly playing together in the years to come, Waltz and Tucker continue to build their bond with one another while representing Robertson County’s baseball scene in the process.
“We love being able to represent our county and our hometowns,” Waltz said. “(We're) just hoping we can make them proud out here and keep carrying that into the school year. We just love coming out here and doing this and representing our people the right way.”