Spring School Sports Anxiously Awaiting Fate due to Pandemic. League Hopes for May 4th Start
Little League Players Climbing the Walls
If school goes back in session, we would likely begin by May 4th with games starting on May 11th - EPHS Baseball Coach Rodericks
The coronavirus has stalled all local and school sports for Rhode Island and most of the world. The NBA, MLB, NHL, tennis and golf events. Little League baseball/softball headquarters has suspended all play well into May and it is doubtful that there can be a season for 2020. For Rhode Island high schools and middle schools, it is equally ominous. The group of student-athletes most effected are high school seniors. Seniors are facing the loss of their final appearance as an athlete in high school. Some student-athletes will not play sports in college or otherwise beyond high school.
“I would encourage our athletes to do what they can to stay in shape within the guidelines of social distancing. I would also encourage them to stay in touch with teammates and coaches so that if we return to the field, track, course or court, it will be an easier transition,” recommends East Providence Director of Athletics Gregg Amore.
Especially anxious is EPHS head baseball coach Bobby Rodericks. He is hoping to get on the baseball field before the school year is out but is unsure if that will happen. “It's definitely sad for our seniors across the board. I’m trying to remain in contact (not in person of course) with as many of the players as possible hoping to keep them motivated and positive even though personally it seems like a long shot,” said Rodericks.
Amore, a former high school baseball coach as well as hockey coach, is keeping fingers crossed. “I continue to hold out hope for an abbreviated schedule so that the seniors especially can have some positive closure to their Townie sports experience,” he said.
The RI Interscholastic league (RIIL) is waiting until the last moment possible before pulling the final plug on spring athletics. While the hockey and basketball seasons have no chance of resuming play, the return of baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls tennis, boys volleyball and boys and girls outdoor track have a slimmer of hope. The RIIL has to wait until the Governor makes a final decision on public school resumption. As of now, school is conducted as distance learning at home through the end of April. If students return to physical school buildings for May, then athletics will resume. The season may be truncated a bit but spring sports would be salvaged.
Rodericks has a message for all spring athletes. “Keep hope and faith for all RI high school spring sports,” he said. “If school goes back in session, we would likely begin by May 4th with games starting on May 11th. The season could go until June 27th. Students and all others should stay home if humanely possible to help ensure, especially that our seniors get to play their final high school season,” he added.
Also, very disappointed are the hundreds of youth sports players in the city. Little league, softball, soccer, junior football, etc. are climbing the walls at home. All city playgrounds and ballfields are closed in compliance with social distancing rules. Little league headquarters is waiting until early May to decide on the balance of the season. Rumford little league president, Eddie Wencis, is hopeful. “I am still hopeful for a LL season and continue to have my coaches reach out to the kids. Our board posts pictures on our web site and Facebook pages,” said Wencis. Central and Riverside leagues are doing similar things to keep their players, coaches and parents involved. Eddie Wencis is staying hopeful and has also shown acts of appreciation to the city’s first responders. “We also have been sending pizza to the EP police and fire departments to show our appreciation. I moved forward with our uniform order and will be having them delivered to each coach so that they can bring them by to each kid to lift their spirits. The parents will then take pictures and we will post them. We will continue to promote hope and keep the little league spirit alive,” added Wencis.
Townie baseball coach Rodericks is putting together his plan to keep baseball alive. “My coaches and I have been planning on our next point of attack if the school season is officially cancelled. We want to keep kids playing ball. I’d like us to get more active with Legion Post 10 baseball. We will be encouraging our entire program to continue to play together and not lose this season - developmentally speaking.”