Jimmy Harris had been getting ready his Stillwater Excessive baseball gamers for a chance that grew to become actuality on Wednesday.
With the unanimous vote by Oklahoma’s State Board of Schooling to shut public buildings for the rest of the varsity yr – and to proceed solely with distance studying – all extracurricular actions would even be canceled for public faculty programs throughout the state.
So the ultimate stage of potential holdouts for sports activities was additionally canceled in Oklahoma – no main skilled, school or highschool sports activities for the foreseeable future.
“After we noticed the proposal a couple of days in the past, I referred to as all my senior gamers and principally simply talked to them,” Harris mentioned by telephone interview with the Information Press on Wednesday. “All of them knew it. There was just one participant who didn’t know what I used to be speaking about, and I once I instructed him, he was like, ‘Oh man.’ …
“I used to be principally simply speaking to them simply to form of see how they had been feeling. They usually had been brokenhearted. They had been disenchanted.”
Although Harris, who has been Stillwater Excessive’s baseball coach for the reason that 2013-14 educational yr, was ready for the probability of shedding the 2020 highschool baseball season, it nonetheless hit him arduous – because it more than likely is for spring athletes throughout Oklahoma this week.
He had a big senior class – 9 in complete – that was trying to returning to the Class 6A state event once more this yr after reaching the state semifinals in 2019.
“We now have some guys that, you realize, which have labored actually arduous, and that is vital to them, and sadly it’s been taken away,” Harris mentioned. “It’s troublesome. … We had been going to be actually good. We had been preseason ranked fourth general in Oklahoma, and we confirmed that we may we beat Damaged Arrow fairly handily (successful the season opener 9-Zero).”
For a lot of within the graduating class, this was going to be their remaining yr taking part in baseball.
Harris mentioned Braedyn Sommer and Isaac Stebens had been the one seniors on the squad who had been intending on taking part in school baseball – Sommer going to play Division I at Central Arkansas, and Stebens going to Cowley School, which superior to the NJCAA Division I Baseball World Sequence final yr.
But it surely wasn’t simply that his giant group of seniors received’t get to play their remaining yr of baseball that has hit Harris.
It’s the notion that his junior class received’t get the prospect to catch the attention of potential school recruiters, or presumably stunting of the expansion of his sophomores who’ve desires to sooner or later play school baseball.
“Junior season is a giant yr to get checked out, you realize, should you’re attempting to chase gives, and we now have a number of guys in our junior class who’re truly actually, actually gifted,” Harris mentioned. “The sophomore group … this was a giant yr for them, it’s an expertise yr. Get that first yr of varsity out of the way in which after which go get after it, and so they didn’t actually get that chance.”
Harris did take some solace within the little time his baseball staff acquired to play collectively this spring.
With Oklahoma permitting exhibitions previous to the beginning of the season, the Pioneers had performed in 10 exhibitions in February and 7 common season video games – with the ultimate coming the night when all school convention basketball tournaments had been canceled, and the eve of the NCAA canceling all remaining nationwide championships.
“I used to be taking a look at a few of the schedules at the moment and there is a few 6A groups that solely performed one or two video games,” Harris mentioned. “We did get to play extra video games than a few of these guys. Kansas, good above us, did not get to play any. …
“So we acquired much more than a whole lot of them did. So if you wish to have a look at the optimistic aspect of that, that is one thing to be optimistic. And we completed on a win – we beat Jenks. It is at all times a great factor while you’re beating a few of the powers in our state.”
Whereas the staff usually hosts a banquet on the finish of the season the place they offer out awards primarily based on efficiency on the diamond, Harris is hopeful that each time there’s even the slightest return to normalcy in Oklahoma that the staff can get again collectively to discover a method to pay tribute to the senior class who can have performed simply seven video games and ended with a three-game successful streak.
“Like proper now, we will not meet as a result of we will not go open our services,” Harris mentioned. “I talked to a few the (gamers’) mothers at the moment, I discussed about what they need to do as a result of I certain need to do that. They principally acquired their season robbed – they’re gonna miss promenade, they’re gonna miss the season, they’re gonna miss a bunch of stuff. And I actually need to do one thing.
“We do have to do one thing the place we get to offer them their second.”