Seniors Faced with a Choice, Cap and Gown or Glove

High school graduation, it's a time to honor accomplishments and recognize hard work. At Carlisle High School, they have a lot to celebrate including seniors leading their baseball team to the state championships.

"I feel like it's a good situation to be in. I'm valedictorian, and I'm playing in the state championship. That's the best of both worlds, right there," said senior Tommy Inman.

Inman earned his place in the best of both worlds, with four years of hitting the books and a great season of hitting the ball. Trouble is, graduation and the title game are at the same time, and the seniors are faced with a big choice -- the cap and gown or the glove.

"Right after the qualifying game our superintendent came up and told us you've got to make a choice, baseball or graduation," said Inman.

Some might be surprised how often that choice has to be made. Lance Taylor of the Arkansas Activities Association says top students are frequently top athletes, and though the state tournaments are scheduled nine years in advance, graduation dates sometimes conflict.

"You only have two in each classification, so out of all 500 and something schools, very few make it that far. So, they go ahead and schedule it thinking they're not going to make then when they do, of course it becomes a conflict," explained Taylor.

For Inman and his teammates, the choice was easy.

"It just really comes down to putting others first in this situation. I feel like the valedictorian ceremony and graduation would be you know, honoring myself whereas baseball it's kind of bringing honor to my town, the players, and coaches. They've always been there for me. I'll go out and play for them," said Inman.

Inman's classmates will still be able to hear his speech.

"They'll have a big screen up and have a video of my speech being recorded. I can't be in two places at once, but they're doing their best," said Inman.

AAA is also doing its best. The six seniors will be presented diplomas in Baum Stadium, a graduation they won't forget, and just maybe Inman's two worlds will be in harmony again.

"To win the state championship and also to be valedictorian all in one day, that is pretty special," said Taylor.