Baseball teams do what they can
Published 6:06 pm Monday, March 23, 2020
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Callaway High baseball coach Dusty Hubbard doesn’t have the answers.
With the postponement of the high-school baseball season now into its second week, Hubbard has had players asking him when play might resume.
His honest answer is “who knows. I have no idea.”
What Hubbard has encouraged his players to do is to be prepared as possible for when and if the season does continue.
“There are some things you can do at home,” Hubbard said. “Swing the bat some if you have a place to swing the bat, and go out and run, and throw. Really at this point, there’s not even a weight room available to them. Ours (at Callaway High) is shut down, and I know Planet Fitness is shut down. There aren’t a lot of places they can go to lift. On their own they can do push-ups and sit-ups. Hopefully they’re doing a little bit to stay in shape.”
The reality, Hubbard stressed, is that taking a few weeks off can prove costly.
“It doesn’t take long,” Hubbard said. “If you don’t throw for two weeks, you’re basically back where you started from. I don’t know if we did go back if they’d give us some days to get back in shape. I’d think it’d almost have to be go-time at that point.”
Hubbard said it’s the seniors who are most anxious about what’s going to happen, which makes sense since this is their final opportunity to play high-school baseball.
“They’re the ones that you get constant texts and calls from, and I have no idea,” Hubbard said.
If the season doesn’t continue, Hubbard said the seniors “don’t even get any type of closure. It’s just sad.”
LaGrange coach Donnie Branch said his players wanted to get together on their own after school was suspended, and while he was pleased with their initiative, he had to tell them it wasn’t the best idea.
“Our leadership team on the team is phenomenal,” Branch said. “Within a day or two it looked like they had a real coach’s practice plan sent out to all the players that they were going to do themselves. It was phenomenal. It made me proud.”
Branch said he “talked to a couple of medical people that I’m good friends with, and they were saying those guys probably don’t need to be doing anything. At that point, I pulled the plug on them. I said I talked to people, and you guys don’t need to be banded together and getting out.”
There are, though, things that Branch is encouraging each of the players to do.
“The things you need to do, everybody needs to be throwing a baseball three or four days a week for 15 minutes,” Branch said. “You’ve got to keep your arm in shape. That’s the first to go. If we don’t have our arms in shape, you can’t pitch, you can’t play. You need to be doing some running on your own, and some training, pushups, sit-ups, that type of deal, and you can do that at home. Don’t be out, don’t be all over. So I’ve encouraged our guys not to be out. The thing is, the sooner everybody buys into that, the sooner this thing will pass across the state and country.”
Branch is hopeful that a season that was going well for the Grangers will continue.
“Everybody wants to go back to school. Everybody wants to play,” Branch said. “I just pray we get to, because we’ve got a bunch of seniors.”
Troup head coach Craig Garner contemplated the idea of finding a place for his players to work out together, but that idea was abandoned.
“We had something worked out where they were going to meet with Shannon Snyder and do some things, but with the seriousness of everything going on we figured that wouldn’t be safe, so we called that off,” Garner said. “As of right now, we told them to be on their own, and try to get with a dad, or an uncle, or a cousin, and be doing it on their own.”
Like everyone else, Troup’s players and coaches are in a holding pattern with no indication of what’s going to happen.
“We’ll give it a couple of weeks, and we’ll see how things look, and kind of see where we go from there,” Garner said.