The last thing Woodward-Granger head coach Eric Evans said following the baseball team’s loss in the district final was “Nobody’s gonna want to play us next year.”
That irony of that was not lost on him Wednesday as he discussed the season’s sudden revival.
“Almost exactly what happened,” he laughed when reminded about his quote.
Following almost two months of postponement, baseball and softball are back on the table as Gov. Kim Reynolds allowed school activities to resume June 1 under new protocols to mitigate the coronavirus without stripping students of summer sports.
Following a weekly team Zoom call on Wednesday, Evans spoke with the Perry Chief, thrilled that his group — which he called the most talented and athletic squad he’s ever coached — has the chance to finish what they couldn’t last year.
“Just continue where we left off last year,” Evans said about the season’s potential, looking at the team’s district final that slipped away in the sixth inning 6-5 against Des Moines Christian.
While the team as a whole is excited to have the season in their sights, it’s the dozen seniors that Evans is most excited for.
“It’s amazing, really. Started out really hopeful, and just kept hopeful that we’d have a season,” Evans said.
As the team has not been able to work together since March, Evans said the biggest issue moving forward is for everyone to be in in-season shape. But with that senior-heavy roster backed by five juniors, he said he’s confident the team’s leadership has that covered, as Evans has also been sending out workouts along with throwing, catching and batting drills that players could manage from home.
Specifics for the rest of the season have yet to be determined. Evans said he has already been in contact with other schools regarding schedules and the potential for more doubleheader action on Mondays opposed to only Thursdays. Exact schedules and season length announcements are expected sometime next week.
Though schedules are to be determined, guidelines for how to proceed at practice have been established by the Iowa Department of Education. Notable regulations include:Signage must be prominently placed that no one with COVID-19 within the last 14 days may enter facilities. Anyone with symptoms of illness will not be permitted either.No dugouts may be usedParents cannot exit cars at practiceCoaches must encourage at least six feet of distance for players during practice and drillsNo shared drinking. Players must bring their own beveragePlayers and coaches must check temperatures before practiceNo spitting sunflower seed shellsCoaches must sanitize shared equipment before and after practice
Additional guidelines for games will be provided Tuesday, May 26 by the IHSAA and IGHSAU.