Sports fields are ghost towns as spring sports season is delayed

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The crack of a ball hitting a bat's sweet spot, a stampede working its way around a track and players showcasing finesse before firing a shot at the net are nowhere to be found — for now.

The spring sports season was scheduled to get underway this week before the COVID-19 outbreak put the season on hold.

"This is pretty tough for everyone right now," Mount Greylock track and field coach Brian Gill said. "My daughter is a senior captain so it's hard as a parent. As a coach, you spend all year looking forward to the season."

Monday should've marked the first day of tryouts for spring sports, but the new date for start of the season is April 27, and because of the fluidity surrounding the situation, that may change again.

"We are just trying to stay positive right now," Hoosac Valley softball coach Mike Ameen said. "Hopefully we'll be talking in a few weeks about pitchers and catchers."

The Hurricanes were one of six Berkshire County softball teams to make it to the Western Massachusetts semifinals last season.

With the season slated to begin a month later than usual, the regular season will likely get shortened, as the MIAA announced that tournament play will come to an end on or around June 20, roughly the same date as last year.

2019 was a record-setting year on the track as Taconic's Josh Tayi and Mount Greylock's Madison Ross both set records at the Berkshire County track and field individuals meet. Both are slated to compete this spring as seniors.

Over on the baseball diamond, the Braves captured their second MIAA state title in three years in a year four local baseball teams were still competing into the Western Mass. semifinals.

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The Mount Greylock girls lacrosse team made it to the Central/West D-II finals for the second consecutive year, but fell to Bromfield. On the boys side, Wahconah made a run to the quarterfinals.

Local tennis courts saw plenty of success as well. The Lee girls made it all the way to the D-III state championship. The Lee boys, on the other hand, found themselves in the Western Mass. D-III championship.

The biggest challenge for spring athletes and coaches is how the season was postponed. If the season had begun on March 16, but teams weren't allowed to gather, coaches could give advice to athletes about how to stay in shape.

"We could post videos of workouts and send videos back and fourth with different techniques," Gill said. "Because of how things went down, by MIAA restrictions, we would be coaching out of season and then everyone would get in trouble."

Per the MIAA, athletes and coaches cannot begin communicating with one another until the season beings on April 27.

In a FAQ posted by the MIAA on Tuesday, it was announced that the MIAA Board of Directors will submit a proposed 2020 spring tournament structure by March 25. Details regarding the spring tournaments will be addressed by the Tournament Management Committee, in collaboration with individual sports committee liaisons and chairs.

Per the FAQ, a deadline has not be set for when spring sports must start by. The document also stressed again that schools and school districts cannot host practices, scrimmages or games until after the April 27 start date.

The MIAA, though, is not backing down from getting the season in.

"The intent is to provide student-athletes with a spring tournament experience," the document reads. "The TMC will collaborate with spring sport committee liaisons and chairs to recommend an appropriate tournament structure."

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.


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