Coronavirus delays spring sports season

Stands and fields at Louisa County High School are empty as the start of spring sports season is delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Games and practices have been postponed until at least March 30.

 

Everyone hoping to enjoy baseball or soccer season as the weather begins to warm will have to wait a little while longer. As the coronavirus spreads across the country, spring sports season in Virginia has been suspended, postponing not just the games that were on the schedule, but also practices.

“It’s difficult,” said Louisa County baseball coach Kevin Fisher. “No one’s been in a situation like this before. We’re going to be taking it day by day.”

The Virginia High School League announced at noon on Friday that the start date for the season, originally scheduled for March 16, would be moved to March 30 and it would be left up to the individual school districts whether teams could practice during that time. 

That decision was made for most teams a few hours later when Governor Ralph Northam ordered the closing of all K-12 schools in the commonwealth for at least the next two weeks. 

In a blog post on the VHSL website on Friday, Executive Director John W. Haun assured readers that, for the time being, the remainder of the season is still happening. 

“Everyone clearly understands the dedication and commitment thousands of parents, coaches and student-athletes have made preparing for this season,” he said. “In two weeks, state leaders will evaluate the situation and provide direction for our schools – including the spring sport season.”

As a result of not being able to hold official practices at the school, teams are left trying to come up with alternate ways to keep working in preparation for their first games.

Softball coach Susan Sharpe is making videos of some drills for her players to do on their own. The girls will film themselves doing the drills and send the videos to Sharpe, who can then instruct the players about what adjustments they need to make.

“The main thing is communicating with them,” Sharpe said. “It’s easier with us there to show them what to correct.”

Girls’ soccer coach Deesh Bhattal is also working on coming up with a training regimen for the team members to do over the next two weeks. He said he was encouraged by how much the girls want him to give them things to do during this time off.

Fisher isn’t giving the baseball team any specific drills or instructions, but is encouraging them to do what they can. The team is taking that to heart and is working to organize informal practices among themselves.

“We’re going to try to keep the fundamentals strong and focus on our skills,” said senior pitcher Ethan Snyder. “If we can get these practices in, the hope is that there won’t be an impact on the team [when we come back].” 

As of right now, the baseball, softball, soccer and tennis teams all have their first games scheduled for March 30. The track team’s first meet is scheduled for April 4.

“I told [LCHS Athletic Director George] Stanley that if we have to play on the 30th, we’ll play on the 30th,” Sharpe said. “It’s going to come down to how prepared we are when we get back.”

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