High school baseball: Harrah's Shea Morrison finding peace year … – Oklahoman.com


HARRAH — Before each inning, Shea Morrison catches himself glancing to the same spot in the stands.
Someone might be sitting in the same blue plastic seat or it might be vacant. He’d almost prefer it empty.
It’s that spot — a front row seat at Harrah High School behind home plate — that brings back horrible pain from 15 months ago.
“It replays in my mind,” Morrison said.
Morrison saw someone receiving CPR in the stands that night during a Panthers preseason scrimmage, but he was unsure exactly who. He remembers the feeling in his stomach when he realized it was Reese Morrison, his father, who suffered a fatal heart attack.
“It’s not easy,” Morrison said. “All he wanted was for me to succeed.”
In the past year, Morrison has started to find peace with that spot. He’s turned darkness into his light, finding his way with a sport he learned to love with his father.
As the high school baseball state tournaments open Thursday around the state, Morrison will take the field for Harrah in the Class 4A state tournament Friday at Edmond North as the team’s inspiration. When tragedy struck, he remained strong.
“Just the way he’s handled his daily work ethic you would never know that he’s been through what he’s been through,” Harrah coach Charles Copeland said. “The way he shows up with a smile on his face, plays hard, you would never know the circumstances.
“His strength to be able to deal with that and still be able to perform athletically like he does is impressive.”
Shea Morrison first planned to follow his father’s footsteps on the gridiron.
Reese Morrison grew up loving football. As a quarterback at Carl Albert High School, the stories about his days were endless.
Shea took to football first. Then baseball came along. It somehow appealed more.
It was in the seventh grade he realized his path did not include football. For Reese, that presented a problem. He did not know baseball.
“He took it on as a challenge and he learned everything he could about the game,” Shea said.
Reese, an assistant fire chief in Midwest City, peppered his co-workers with questions. Some played in college. Some played in the minors.
From there, he learned how to coach and bond with his son over the game.
After each Harrah practice, Reese was waiting with a bucket of baseballs. He and Shea spent another hour in the batting cage.
Soft toss. Live pitching. Work on short hops for first base. He’d even catch Shea’s bullpens.
“I didn’t do anything without him,” Shea said. “There would be times I didn’t even want to get out of bed, I just wanted to lay down and he would force me to go out because he wanted me to get better. He was hard on me because he wanted me to succeed.”
For a handful of minutes, Charles Copeland hugged Shea as tears fell.
“I played so hard for my dad,” Shea said through the crying.
A year ago, Shea was on the mound as Harrah’s season ended one win from the state tournament on a walk-off error.
For months, he poured everything into honoring his father. He and his mom even moved, needing to get away from the memories on their 10-acre property.
Copeland was always there. After each game, he called Shea to talk about the game. What went right. What went wrong. What needed to be worked on.
Reese would have done the same.
“That shows a lot about his character and the type of coach he is,” Shea said. “It’s more than just a game to him.”
When Shea struggles with the memories, he finds Copeland. The advice is always the same.
“Just look at me and know your dad is proud of you,” Copeland tells him. “Let that moment be not negative, but positive.”
This season, Shea has found his way.
A junior left-handed pitcher and first baseman, he’s batting .414 with 18 extra-base hits. He’s 9-0 with a 1.87 ERA on the mound.
And last weekend, his tears from last season turned to joy.
Shea delivered the walk-off hit to beat Tuttle and clinch a state tournament berth. Everything felt right as he hugged Copeland.
They talked about Reese, knowing the moment would have meant the world to him.
“It felt amazing to get us to that point and to know that we’re going to go do something that he would be very proud of,” Shea said. “After the game, I knew he would be proud of me.”


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