Blais Hale’s unique first name comes from a pair of baseball teammates his father, Chad Hale, played with in college and the minor leagues.
These days Blais (pronounced Blaze) is known by another name: Clark County high school baseball player of the year. The All-Clark County team was voted on by county coaches and sponsored by the Clark County Baseball Hall of Fame.
Northwestern’s Brad Olinger was named coach of the year.
“That was one of my goals at the beginning of the season to get a player of the year award, whether it was the Central Buckeye Conference or the county,” said Hale, who graduated from Tecumseh High School in June. “It felt really good to accomplish that. There were multiple other good players in the county that could have very easily gotten it.”
One of Hale’s other goals this past season? Just to be on the field. A torn labrum in his left shoulder robbed Hale of his senior seasons in football and basketball. He suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder during his junior year. Both surgeries required a six-month rehab.
“I think not being able to play football or basketball, he kind of appreciated his chance to play baseball,” said Chad Hale, who also coaches the Arrows baseball team. “He knew he would get to play baseball and he wanted to make the most of it.”
Hale did. His .405 batting average led the Arrows as did his runs (23), hits (30) and doubles (10). He also knocked in 12 runs and stole five bases.
His best attribute is his defense. Hale can play any infield or outfield position. His favorites are shortstop and center field. He’s also pitched, but his shoulder injury prevents him from pitching or playing catcher.
His baseball career will continue at Cedarville University. He visited Eastern Michigan University last summer and the next day Cedarville offered him a scholarship. Hale was impressed with EMU following his visit, but played a game of back-and-forth getting in contact with them. Hale considered it a sign that Cedarville offered him the day after his EMU visit.
“Cedarville seemed like a good fit. I loved the campus and I’m associated with God,” Hale said. “I’m excited to get there and get going.”
“After what he went through with those injuries – and those weren’t easy recoveries, they were very painful surgeries – we felt blessed,” Chad Hale said of his son’s recovery. “We put it in God’s hands, to tell you the truth. We were concerned about him having an opportunity to showcase himself for colleges. We put it in God’s hands to find his path.”
Hale’s brother Reid, a 2017 Tecumseh graduate, will join him at Cedarville. The pitcher played one season at Clark State University. Younger brother Seth, a sophomore at Tecumseh, also earned all-Clark County honors as a first-team outfielder.
Hale’s baseball path seemed destined from birth. He was named after his dad’s former teammates from Ohio State University and the Boston Red Sox minor league system. His name is pronounced ‘Blaze’ like former OSU player Blase Sparma, but with the spelling of former minor league teammate Mike Blais (pronounced Blay).
Now, Hale is making a name for himself. Last week he played in the All Ohio Series sponsored by Augusta Sportswear. The state’s top 80 high school seniors were separated into four teams for a two-day, three-game event at OSU’s Bill Davis Stadium. Hale went 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, a run scored and two runs batted in with Royal Blue.
“I’ve been playing baseball since I was four years old,” Hale said. “My dad (and mother Kim) were always associated with it. I just love the game. I love being out there playing it.
“It’s always special to win an award. But it is more special because I’ve been through a lot. It’s a long recovery process and I’ve worked really hard. To be rewarded feels good. It feels nice.”
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