Baseball hopes to have uninterrupted spring season


Photo credit: Kate Nuelle

photo by Kate Nuelle

When the country came to a screeching halt in March, the Trinity baseball team saw their 2020 season end abruptly just as conference play was set to start. Nearly nine months later, they are finally back on the field and are hopeful for a spring season in 2021.

While baseball is technically a spring sport, it’s typical to see them practicing during the fall. Baseball usually begins their fall off-season training when school starts in August. They then transition to captain-led practices throughout September and finally head into official coach-led practices in late October through Thanksgiving break.

“COVID has thrown a wrench in pretty much everything we do. We have been able to start practicing in mid-October and have certainly made the most out of those,” said senior pitcher Matt Thomas.

According to senior pitcher Carter Fronk, while field practices began in mid-October, the team had been able to start lifting in September.

“We were split up into two main groups, with multiple ‘pods’ of four or less within the two main groups to stay under the capacity set in the Sports Performance Center (SPC),” said Fronk.

Once they were cleared to begin field activities, they started working in groups of 10-12 doing more specialized drills. Most of this semester has been focused on conditioning and individual skills work. The team is currently lifting three times a week and practicing three times a week as well.

“We have just been moved into phase three, which means our practice sessions can go a bit longer, and we are able to run a full scrimmage atmosphere, with pitchers throwing live to hitters. These scrimmages have only been going on for the last week, but it has been great to face live pitchers again,” said senior infielder Jack Wisniewski.

The team typically closes out their fall season with a Fall World Series. Thomas elaborates on what this entailed pre-pandemic.

“It is normally over four days. We play five games against each other in teams that are split up. It is usually a very competitive and fun time out there. Lots of parents come out and support the team, thus making it normally a great environment. As far as I know, this year, it will be November 12-15,” said Thomas.

With the way the team has progressed through Trinity’s phased plan, they will still be able to hold the World Series. They might have to make some COVID-19 adjustments, such as the removal of fans.

“We are hoping to get [the World Series] in right before we leave for Thanksgiving break. It will be good to be able to play what feels like a real game for the first time since spring. Our team will break into two sides, and we will likely play five full games against each other. This is the typical structure for our Fall World Series. I have heard that the plan is to record the games so that our friends and family can watch the live stream,” said Wisniewski.

COVID-19 has required that everyone make adjustments in all aspects of life, but Fronk believes the team has stepped up to meet the challenges presented.

“I think everyone has handled the situation very well. Before we could meet as a team, guys were trusted to get their work done on their own, and I believe everyone did so. Now that we’ve started practices again, though, everyone is excited just to have the opportunity to go out and compete. We’re just focused on controlling what we can control and putting in the work this fall so that we can be ready to go with whatever cards we are dealt for the spring season,” said Fronk.

As the spring season approaches, things are still very much up in the air about what that will actually look like. The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) released a report with a spring 2021 schedule for fall sports such as volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer. This involves a smaller conference-only schedule without an NCAA championship. The report explains that this still depends on the COVID-19 situation, but the SCAC is hopeful that they will be able to safely move forward with these schedules.

With so much uncertainty, it is impossible for anyone to know what the spring will look like. Baseball has no answers, but they are hopeful and want the chance to get to play their regular season.

“For now, we are working hard to follow the guidelines, stay healthy, and keep practicing so we are ready whenever we are able to start games,” said Wisniewski.