After the AHSAA announced its suspension of the spring sports season effective Wednesday due to the coronavirus outbreak, teams were faced with the reality of their time together suddenly being limited. Several schools began canceling events immediately while others attempted to reschedule some extra games before the hiatus officially began.
“It’s always tough when you don’t know any answers,” Wetumpka baseball coach Michael Dismukes said. “We just tried to play day to day. It was big for us to continue to play and to have some normalcy. It probably would hurt us more if we didn’t play while we could play. We just have to move forward.”
Wetumpka tried to reschedule multiple games for Monday and Tuesday but it ultimately couldn’t get any in. Fortunately, Wetumpka was one of the teams to get a final game in after the suspension was announced to help some players get a small sense of closure.
Less than 24 hours after the news, Wetumpka traveled to Valley where it grabbed its 10th victory in the final game before the suspension. Stanhope Elmore’s baseball team also hit the field for a game against Holtville as the Mustangs hosted their annual Alumni Weekend on Saturday.
“I want them to love this game,” Stanhope coach Kaleb Shuman said. “It’s more about being with the team and being in the dugout to experience the game together. Baseball is a very mental game and you really play for the guys next to you.”
Shuman tried his best to get even more games in before the suspension kicked in, scheduling games for Monday and Tuesday but both days were canceled due to growing concerns of COVID-19. The Mustangs hoped to use Monday as an opportunity to recognize their seniors.
“One of the things I always talk to them about is the window of opportunity to play this game,” Shuman said. “With the uncertainty of if we will get to start, we wanted to get my seniors to play as many times as they could before the hiatus. It was about recognizing their time here and their accomplishments. We want to honor them for trying to change the culture.”
The AISA also had its spring sports seasons halted Friday as Edgewood was set to start a softball tournament at Macon-East. The suspension began Sunday so the Wildcats got to get in their final games before going on a three-week hiatus.
“Once we addressed it Thursday night, we didn’t really talk about it again,” Edgewood softball coach Darryl Free said. “That was out of respect to them because I didn’t want that toying with their emotions. I didn’t want that to be something that hindered their performance and they did a really good job with that.”
Wetumpka’s soccer program was trying its best to have a Senior Night for its players as its matches against Elmore County were already scheduled for Tuesday. However, when Superintendent Richard Dennis announced the close of all after-school activities Monday, Wetumpka was forced to shut down its plans and are now worried for the future of the season.
“We just wanted to try to finish out the season somehow,” Wetumpka girls soccer coach Jessica Holbert said. “We had a lot of girls come to school (Monday) only because they wanted to play. We have a strong feeling that this may be it. This may be the season.”