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Local high school sports suspended amid coronavirus pandemic
Kade Morris
Kade Morris of Pitman High was hoping to have one last season pitching for the Pride, but the coronavirus has put that goal in jeopardy (Journal file photo).

Pitman High senior and starting pitcher Kade Morris was looking forward to his last season on the Pride baseball team. His plans to for a final run at a league title with his teammates hit an obstacle on Friday, when all spring sporting competitions throughout Stanislaus County were suspended due to coronavirus concerns.

“Obviously, I am super bummed. I’m still processing that there is a virus here in the country and everything going on; it’s hectic,” said Morris. “Feels weird and different and knowing I can’t play my senior season and they might be cancelling prom and graduation, all these delays, and on top of that is baseball. I am still holding on to maybe we can play a condensed season. If a miracle happens, we play each other twice in league or something like that, but it is out of our control that’s what coach Andy told us. It is what is it and you gotta move it.” 

Thankfully for Morris, his baseball career will continue as he is headed to the University of Nevada-Reno on a scholarship next year, but others may not get the opportunity to play on a team once they leave high school.

"I figured this was coming, considering the flow of things over the last week," said Pitman High AD Dave Walls. "I think the most important focus should be the health and safety of our students specifically and the community in general.  If we extend the school year when we pass this crisis, we can make up whatever games we miss.”

The announcement was made late Friday that all Stanislaus County Superintendents, under the guidance of the county’s public health department, decided to suspend all athletic competitions effective Monday until further notice.

Athletic practices will be allowed to continue, however.

“Yes, our coaches will continue practice because the state stuff is months away and who knows what the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) will do with that," said Turlock High Athletic Director Mike Brown. “The letter we got said that practices are allowed.” 

Turlock Christian AD Nicole Rodrigues said the Eagles will continue to play.

“We haven't canceled our spring sports. We have schools contacting us and canceling all sports events for a month or indefinitely,” said Rodrigues on Friday. “Games are moving on. We are being proactive in reminding and instructing our student athletes on good hygiene, fist bumps or elbow taps after the game instead of high-fiving, as well as encouraging everyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms to please stay home.” 

Rodrigues also made it clear that things can change at any moment and are being mindful. 

“We are continuing to monitor the recommendation of experts and advisors (CIF) from the state and county educational communities. We recognize that could change at any time and will keep our student athletes' best interests at the forefront of our minds,” said Rodrigues. “It hasn't impacted us too greatly in regards to preseason. We've had only a few cancellations. But missing out on opportunities for game time is discouraging as it helps our players put into action what they have been practicing for and potentially puts them at a disadvantage. It's particularly frustrating for our seniors who could be playing their last season and you want to give them every opportunity to be successful and have fun.” 

Another factor for Turlock Christian is that Pedretti Park will be closing down starting on Monday, which hurts the junior high softball team along with the varsity baseball squad. 

“We need a place to play and practice now,” Rodrigues said. 

Hilmar High School canceled its athletic events through Sunday.

“Just cancelled up until Monday and then we can reevaluate,” said Hilmar AD Frank Marques.

More information on what the future holds for spring sports athletes may be coming soon as the 10 Sac-Joaquin Section Commissioners and the CIF State Office Staff have their annual spring meeting on March 17-18.

“The spring sports season is the first matter set for discussion and coordination at this meeting. While schools and school districts have authority over the scheduling and rescheduling of regular-season contests, the Sections, and the State Office will discuss how recent school closures and school district's postponement of their spring sports may impact post-season events. The CIF will continue to work with our schools and school districts with the health and well-being of student-athletes and school communities as our priority,” stated the CIF. 

To read the entire statement, visit: