HELENA — Helena’s Conor McCarvel has had himself a busy summer. The jack-of-all-trades on the baseball diamond took some time off recently for Montana’s 72nd East-West Shrine Game. McCarvel suited up as a wide receiver for the West team, catching a touchdown pass in the 24-21 loss.
“We’ve done a little juggling with Conor schedule-wise,” Helena Senators head coach Jon Burnett said. “The Shrine Game, right in the middle of our season. That’s the kind of experience we didn’t want him to miss. He missed probably about 10 games for us, but he’s came back the last couple games and he’s been a good presence in the dugout, got on the field a few games and he’s done a good job for us.”
“Coach (Burnett) has worked with me quite a bit time-wise. Last week he just told me, he was just a little worried about me getting injured,” McCarvel laughed. “But it hasn’t been too bad.”
Then it was right back to the diamond, where it hasn’t been a storybook season for McCarvel, who is playing his final year of Legion Baseball with the Senators. McCarvel missed basketball season due to a knee injury that required PRP injections to reduce swelling and pain. McCarvel is also having to get used to a position change, going from outfield to infield.
“Conor’s one of those guys, he’s been in our program for four years, he’s gone through some things this year,” Burnett said. “He’s had some knee issues, he hasn’t been 100 percent healthy. He had some hard times early in the season, but he stuck it out and he’s really helping us with the bat right now. We threw him in the infield over at first base. He hadn’t played first base his Legion career, and he’s done a real nice job for us there. He’s been a good leadership presence for our younger players.”
The Senators enter the State AA tournament as the No. 7 seed, and will face a talented Kalispell team in the first round. However, coach Burnett has reminded his players it’s not the seed that matters.
“We’re definitely going to have to bring up our competitiveness to the next level,” McCarvel said of the State AA tournament. “We’re pretty young, but I think we’re pretty talented overall. Coach (Burnett) just keeps telling us that it doesn’t matter what seed you are, the team that wins moves on.”
Following the state tournament, McCarvel will hit the road for Dickinson State in North Dakota to begin his collegiate football career, joining a number of Montanans on the Bluehawks roster.
“Pete Stanton does a good job recruiting Montana kids, so it will be a good conversation starter being from Montana,” McCarvel said of his future at Dickinson State.
McCarvel will look to cap his busy summer with a deep run in the State AA tournament before putting on the football pads in the fall.