Spring is always a special time for high school baseball and softball players.
The weather is usually getting better and everything seems possible when practice gets started.
This year, however, has an even more special feeling considering COVID shut down the 2020 season after just one week of play.
“It really feels different because the last season we basically had was two years ago,” Covington senior softball player Hannah Kirby said Tuesday after an indoor workout in the Holmes School gym. “It feels like we’ve missed a lot, but I think we’ll still be good once we get on the field.”
“It does feel different, but then again, it kind of doesn’t,” said Lauren Vickery, another senior Covington softball player. “We always start off this way, we’re always in here.”
Covington softball coach Justus Cousar acknowledged last year’s shutdown was painful, especially considering his team was loaded with talented seniors, but said Tuesday it felt like business as usual.
“To me it feels the same because I’m old and I’ve been doing this a long time,” he said with a laugh. “What has been different is the weather. You get nine inches of snow then nine inches of snow melt.”
Like many area teams, Covington has not been able to get on its field yet. On Tuesday the Covington baseball was taking infield in a parking lot.
The Munford baseball team has gotten on its field a couple of times and will play some intrasquad games later this week with nice weather coming.
The TSSAA is not allowing scrimmages this season because of lingering COVID issues, which makes the preseason even more challenging.
“I think the biggest thing is it feels like you’ve been practicing for two offseasons and you’ve played five games between all that,” Munford baseball coach Scotty Yount said. “From a coaching standpoint it’s really hard to get your guys ready to play and hitting on all cylinders … In reality you don’t know where you’re at because you haven’t played anybody and you can’t have any scrimmages. It makes it that much tougher to find out where you’re at.”
Munford will open its regular season March 15 at home vs. St. George’s.
“It can’t get here quick enough for me,” Yount said. “I’m ready to watch them play and I know they’re ready to play and compete against somebody other than each other. The biggest word I think of is there is a lot of anxiety. It takes a lot of preparation to get things right. It’s almost like I’m just trying to keep from screwing things up.”
The Brighton baseball team has been on its field a couple of times and, like everybody else, has big plans in the coming days.
“It does feel different because we know we’ve been all out of sync as far as playing together,” Brighton baseball coach Ryan Wood said. “Our guys have done a good job of picking each other up and jelling together even without being on the field.”
Wood said he believes emotions will be running high when his team opens the season March 15 against Arlington.
“First off, exciting,” Wood said when asked about the season opener. “That’s the first emotion that comes to mind. It will be exciting to be back on the field and compete with the guys. The second thing is thankful and blessed. I know my guys, we talk about it often, they can’t wait to be back out there. The point is to win the game but the bigger thing is having a full appreciation of being able to play, especially after last year.”