KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee baseball roster is going to look a lot different when the 2023 season begins. Until recently, it looked like that roster would be missing pitcher Camden Sewell.
"The season ended, and once I sat down and had down time to think about everything and realize all these different things, I was like, 'You know what? Maybe [playing baseball] is not what I want to do," Sewell said.
Sewell immediately put playing baseball in the rearview mirror. He took a full-time job with Knoxville American Accessories International and even dismissed messages and calls from MLB teams interested in his services.
"I would see it on my phone and just ignore it and get away from it," Sewell said. "I knew that's not what I wanted to do."
The Cleveland, Tennessee native wishes he would have respectfully declined those messages instead of ignoring them when he looks back on it, but he said the situation was still fresh and he was reacting too emotionally.
It was at his new job that his mindset began to change. Sewell said he quickly learned how to be more professional in his first weeks with the company, especially when it came to problem-solving.
"It's not just a straight path to the correct answer," Sewell said.
As the summer went on, he said he was looking for the "correct answer" in regards to his playing career.
"My opinion changed every day," Sewell said. "That was hard to deal with and cope with because you're like, 'Which one is the right decision?'"
Sewell began focusing on regrets and realized that not using his fifth year of eligibility was something he would look back on and miss, especially seeing the way the program has transformed since he joined the team.
"I remember my freshman year. It was like we were almost begging people to come watch us," Sewell said. "Last year, it was every single game. They came out and it was amazing. You get a sudden feeling like, 'I don't want that to end.'"
The way last season ended and falling short of a trip to Omaha also played into Sewell's decision to come back for another run.
"Knowing that feeling, I'll tell you one thing. I'm excited to be back, and we have some unfinished business," Sewell said.
The pitcher plans to keep his job while playing out his fifth season on Rocky Top and has been figuring out a plan to do that efficiently since he made his choice to come back. He will also be taking classes at Tennessee that will directly help him in his new career.
He hasn't thought about whether he'll field offers at the professional level when next season is over, and he's trying to focus on right now.
"That stress doesn't need to be added right now," Sewell said. "I get to play at the University of Tennessee [for one more season] in front of the best fanbase in America. I'm going to cherish every moment of it."