Chargers uncertain their season will continue due to COVID-19
March 26, 2020 by Cassie Campise, Arizona State University
The McClintock Chargers started gaining momentum with two wins right before their season was postponed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
With the sudden stop to their season, the Chargers are wondering if they played their last game of baseball this year following Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s orders to close all schools and suspend athletic events until at least April 10.
“We are taking this in stride, but obviously in the back of your mind is, that could be it,” assistant coach Harold Bull said.
Bull expressed how difficult it is to know that the seniors might have finished off their high school careers. He said those are the guys who “lose out the most.”
“In a high school setting you don’t get an extra year to come back for another season,” Bull said. “That’s it, you’re done.”
Senior Caleub Bueno has not yet been able to process the fact that it could be over. He expressed how, before this happened, their energies were high. He also noticed that the players on the bench didn’t focus just on themselves but they motivated teammates on the field.
Another senior, Aiden Penry, has felt frustrated throughout this hard process.
“It happened so suddenly, I didn’t know that would be my last game,” Penry said. “I never had the last game experience, so it is disappointing.”
The memory that has stuck with him the most was when it was raining during spring break. The team had a practice in the gym, and they all played waffle ball.
Though their season is possibly cut short, the seniors left a mark on the juniors. Junior Mathias Sanders said the seniors taught him that attitude is everything.
“The more positive you are the better you play and then more of that positivity rubs off on everyone else,” Sanders said.
Sanders said that all his team wants to do is be able to play baseball. For some of them, it’s practically their whole lives.
One of their last games was against North Canyon High School. Junior Colt Thompson pitched six scoreless innings, and they finally saw the hard work pay off with a win.
“We were really trending in a positive direction,” Bull said.
He said the boys were looking forward to practice and they were learning despite their 2-7 record. With the pause, the coaches continue to communicate with the team via GroupMe to encourage players to work out and continue to improve their skills.
“We are sending out training videos just to keep them engaged on guys in professional baseball teaching skills,” Bull said.
But since the closure, the team is not allowed to participate in group activities and students are not allowed on campus. Many of the players left their equipment at the school, so it is challenging for them to continue to work on skills they would during practice.
“We are encouraging them to do as much individual work as they can, throwing up against the wall or however they can manage to do it,” head coach Larry Patterson said.
Most players are going on runs every other day to stay active. The biggest message they are relaying to teammates is they are “hopeful” they might be able to resume the season, but it is a “day-to-day thing.”
If McClintock’s season is resumed, the players want to continue right where they left off.
“We played nine games, that’s it, we didn’t even play 10 games,” Bull said. “That last week we had a great week, we swept and had two great practices, next week we were shut down.”