Isaac Humphrey is doing his best to maintain a routine.
The Owensboro High School senior baseball star will likely not play another inning for Red Devils, but it doesn’t mean he’s wasting the down time that has been created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
And there’s a compelling reason for that, as Humphrey will be enrolling this fall on a baseball scholarship at the University of Louisville — one of the most prestigious programs in the nation.
“That’s definitely a motivating factor,” said Humphrey, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound left-hander, who pitches and plays the outfield. “I really want to stay in the best shape possible, as if we were playing right now.
“It’s tough not actually playing the game, for sure, but I want to put myself in the best position possible for when I get to Louisville. It’s a great program, and I want to be ready to compete for them once I get there.”
So, the routine continues.
“I’m working out in some fashion every day,” Humphrey said. “I’m throwing into a net, hitting off a tee into a net at the house. I’m conditioning in other ways when I can.
“I’m just trying to stay committed to the game as much as I possibly can.”
Humphrey is also working hard to keep his focus on the future, but he acknowledges that recent events have been difficult to deal with.
“It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever been through,” he said. “I really feel sorry for all the spring sports athletes, especially those seniors who aren’t going to have the opportunity to play at the next level. My heart really goes out to them.
“When we’re young, we all look forward to having that very special senior season — so, yes, that’s been very hard to deal with.”
Moreover, Humphrey was looking forward to a big season at OHS, which was expected to be a contender for 9th District and 3rd Region championships.
Last spring, the Red Devils finished 24-11 and reached the semifinal round of the 3rd Region Tournament. Humphrey batted .371 with six doubles, a team-best five triples, a homer, and 26 RBIs. On the mound, he was 4-1 with a team-best ERA of 1.45, striking out 55 batters in 53 innings of work.
“We came in with high expectations this season, for sure,” Humphrey said. “We have 10 seniors on the team, and it’s fortunate that six will be moving on to play college baseball, but it’s tough to believe we may not have a season. It’s just hard to believe that our careers together might end without getting to play at all.”
For now, Humphrey said his summer season with the Evansville Razorbacks — an elite travel team featuring players from the tri-state — is set to begin as scheduled in late June.
“I hope we get to play, but I just don’t know for sure at this point,” Humphrey said. “Last year, we played between 30 and 40 games, and that would really help prepare me for the next step I’m taking in my career.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve stepped on the mound in a game, going back to last July, so I’m definitely looking forward to getting back out on the field and playing in games.”
Humphrey has stayed in contact with the coaching staff at Louisville, and has at least an idea of how they plan to utilize his skills once he gets there.
“I think they are thinking about me as an outfielder and hitter first,” he said. “But pitching is on the table, too, and I can see myself there in a role sort of like (former Owensboro Catholic star) Cole Sturgeon had in the program — contributing in both areas.
“Coach (Dan) McDonnell has talked about spring-boarding, which is showing a lot of growth between the time you commit to the program until the time you arrive, and that’s why I continue to work as hard as a I can.
“I want to show up at U of L knowing I put the time in, knowing I’m ready to play.”