It runs in the family: The Hubbards are enjoying one final ride together on the diamond

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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Sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The Hubbards are a perfect example of this as Dusty and Bryce share the dugout together for one final run.

Dusty, the Callaway baseball coach since the early 2000s, and Bryce, a senior on the team, have grown up and shared so many memories on the diamond. As the two sit in the dugout and stare out onto the freshly mowed green grass of the Callaway baseball field affectionately known as “The Hubb”, the two can’t help but think of a lifetime of memories.

“Coaching him has been one of the thrills of my life and also been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do,” Dusty said. “I remember a few times when he was young that I kicked him out of the dugout for climbing on the walls. He has grown up here that is for sure. As soon as the games would end he would be out there running the bases with the players.”

Bryce added, “I would always come up here when I was little and always being in the dugout and watching him coach.”

“The Hubb” is more than just a home away from home for the two during the high school season. It is where Bryce went from a bumbling toddler to a young man on the cusp of adulthood. Dusty has been there every step of the way, through the highs and the lows.

“There have been countless nights that we have just come up here to the field and just put in the extra time together so that I can feel good about where I’m at,” Bryce said.

It is hard to believe for both of them how far they have come and how little time they have left in this stage of the journey. Bryce has been a key figure for the Callaway baseball team since his freshman season and is now in his final run of games as a Cavalier.

“It is different now that I’m one of the oldest guys on the team and I really have to step up for my final season,” Bryce said. “It’s on me really because this is my last ride.”

Bryce has been dominant from the plate and in the mound as a senior. He has pitched the most innings on the team, 21 ⅓, while posing an ERA of just 0.98. Bryce is also hitting .419 from the plate and leads the team in hits (13) and RBIs (18). 

Nobody is surprised by his torrid start to the season, least of all Dusty. 

“You can see his maturity as a ball player, and when he was in ninth and tenth grade I probably expected a little more of him than I should have, but he has a complete command of what he wants to do now,” Dusty said. “He has earned the right to be more independent.”

The bond between father and son often goes unspoken. The bond between Bryce and Dusty is spoken through the crack of a bat connected to a baseball and the sound of a ball popping the worn glove on a sunny afternoon.

The bond that the two share became even more prevalent when Dusty stepped aside as Callaway’s defensive coordinator so that he could spend more time in the summer and fall watching his son play in college.

“When he said he wanted to play at North Georgia I was excited because I knew that is where he belonged and I’m looking forward to getting up there to watch him as much as I can,” Dusty said.

Bryce will be heading to the University of North Georgia to play baseball starting in the fall. Like his father, Bryce is getting his chance to play college baseball and looks to make the most of this opportunity.

“I’ve always wanted to keep playing as long as I can, and I hope to continue playing as long as I can,” Bryce said. 

The two have a strong foundation but have occasionally butted heads over the years on the diamond.

“There are a few times that we’ve kind of butted heads and it probably happens more at practice than during games,” Dusty said. 

The real MVP in this equation is Dusty’s wife and Bryce’s mom, Courtney. The ball field practically has become her second home as well.

“She is the true hero in all of this,” Dusty said with a hearty laugh. “She got [Bryce] around to all the places he needed to go and he was playing year-round back then. She has been the one that has sacrificed a lot for us.”

At practically every home game for the last four years, there have been at least three Hubbards. Two in the dugout and at least one in the stands, but time is flying by and change is about to blow in on the summer wind.

The ending to the current chapter of the Hubbards’ lives is nearing an end, but the two have unfinished business together first.

“We want to win a ring,” Bryce said. “That is all you can hope for, none of the individual awards really matter.”

The Callaway baseball team had won 12 straight games going into Tuesday’s game and are riding high heading into the heart of the season. Something special is brewing for the Cavaliers and for one final ride under the lights at “The Hubb”, the Hubbard duo are sharing the dugout together.