The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic erased the 2020 spring athletic and activities season for high schools across the country and the lasting effects of it may continue to impact spring sports even more.
Lansing High School head baseball coach Michael Basler said losing a whole season was devastating for his team but the impact of the pandemic could affect summer camps and leagues as well as the recruitment of players who are losing a season of potential development.
Even with the uncertainty of whether or not summer leagues and camps will take place, Basler said his athletes are preparing to get on the field.
“I think our players have continued to stay focused on improving their skill set and preparing for summer season of competition,” he said. “We have a bunch of hard-working grinders that are self-motivated that are taking this time to grow their game and prepare, by getting their bodies in better shape, arm care development, improving their hitting approach with tee work and cage time. I am very proud of the way our kids have handled themselves with all of this.”
Even with all of the work the Lions have put in while out of school and away from their team setting, Basler said there are concerns about missing out on summer activities.
“There are going to be impacts (in the summer) from this pandemic for sure,” he said. “Camp, summer weights/conditioning and the skills individual development programs we host in the summer. At this point, we are not sure when we will be able to begin these activities, but they have been a big part of our culture and program development since I got to Lansing.”
The Lions’ roster consisted of five seniors with second baseman Brett Zimmerman set to attend Stetson University in the fall and outfielder Caleb Troutt set to attend Kansas City Kansas Community College. Pitcher Tyler Akin, first baseman Cal Riggi and third baseman Max Romine make up the seniors still looking for a school to play for next season. Basler said he is reaching out to schools and coaches on behalf of his seniors and will continue to do so but knows the circumstances are different than ever before.
“The tough thing for all of the class of 2020 is that all the current college baseball players are gaining a year of eligibility,” he said, “and that has an impact on college rosters which in turn impacts college recruiting of 2020 seniors.”
Basler said he has spent a lot of time working toward being prepared for when athletics begin to return so he can be ready to work with his athletes.
“One of the biggest losses for all players is the experience and competition of the spring season,” he said, “which exposes areas that need further development for player/team growth. That can not be replaced, but I have looked into ways to evaluate my guys throughout the summer so that we can expose strengths and weaknesses in their game and develop the best plan for their future as a baseball player.”