COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Baseball and softball teams across Ohio are now two weeks into their season, a far cry from this time last year when no spring athletes were playing because of the pandemic.
“Once you step on the field, COVID is just not on anyone’s mind,” said Sara Tailfore, a senior on Pickerington Central’s softball team.
But the coronavirus was on the top of everyone’s mind last Spring.
“I remember the day we were ripped off the field. We were practicing that day and we didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Makenzie O’Neil, a senior on Pickerington Central’s softball team.
What happened was a season that never happened after the OHSAA canceled all spring sports, ending playing careers for hundreds of seniors.
“We were all ready and it just got taken away,” said Alex Diehl, a junior on Dublin Coffman’s baseball team. “Seeing the seniors who that was their only year on varsity that was tough for them, so I’m just glad to be here.”
Those players and many others still got to compete both locally and through travel ball in the summer.
“Played travel ball this summer, actually felt pretty normal,” said Nathan Kassis, a senior on Dublin Coffman’s baseball team. “It was good to get back into it and not have high school baseball this season be the first time we saw live pitching in two years.”
Because the season was canceled, the OHSAA changed its rules to allow baseball and softball coaches to have unlimited contact with players during the summer.
“Usually August is a dead period, so being able to get with these guys as soon as possible in early June and being able to spend the last nine months with them has been very beneficial,” said Drew Kirby, a first-year head coach at Dublin Coffman.
All Spring athletes feel just about the same way about getting to have a season this year.
“I’m just thankful that we’re getting a season because after losing a season last year, it really is making me personally, and I know my teammates, cherish every game,” Tailfore said.