Baseball team prepares for season despite postponing

Matthew Smith | Staff Writer

A curveball that no one saw coming. 

Coming into 2020, the Mason baseball team, led by head coach Curt Bly, had high expectations for the season, and all eyes were focused on reaching State final four goals. However, this spring has been anything but expected. With their season on hold per OHSAA rules, a lot of uncertainty surrounds the team, but Coach Bly said he is still preparing for the season to be played and expects to find out more soon. 

“The OHSAA’s directive was to shut everything down until April 6th,” Bly said. “There have not been any new updates since, so we don’t really know what will happen. I’ve kept the mentality that we will have a season, and our guys have been working on their own since we are under a no contact period. We will learn more about the situation as it unfolds.”

For now, the anticipation of this season is on pause. Before being put on hold though, an experienced group of seniors (led by Cole Harting, Harrison Johnson, and AJ Kraus) expected big things in their last year together. Harting said with plenty of returnees, aspirations were high for their last season together.

“We hope to be playing for our third straight GMC title this year,” Harting said. “We also have a lot of guys returning from our team last year. With all of the experience we have, as well as 17 seniors, we were expecting that to really help us make a good tournament run.”

Although the hope for the team is that the season is played, they know it is a very real possibility it is cancelled. Johnson said that if the season is not played it would be a very disappointing way to end his career after all the work he did in the offseason in hopes of another trip to the final four.

“It’s different for everyone. Some guys this is it, while other guys are playing at the next level,” Johnson said. “But at the end of the day it’s heartbreaking for all of us. For me it’s always been a goal of mine to win a state championship, and if my last chance was taken away from me, I would be really upset.”

Since nothing is set in stone, no one truly knows how this situation will play out. There is a chance of no season, but Bly feels that not focusing on the what if’s is important for the team. Coach Bly said that he’s been preaching to his players to prepare for the season and not think about the possibility of any cancellations.

“I try not to think about playing this season potentially not going our way,” Bly said. “I know it would be really upsetting for those seniors to not their careers the right way but I try not to dwell on those thoughts. I’ve told my guys that everyday you train and work hard with nothing promised to you, and sometimes in life things don’t go your way. I think this is just a different version of that and all athletes go through it.”

Staying focused and remaining positive has been key for these athletes. As a senior leader, Harting has taken an initiative to keep the right attitude. Many of the guys have continued to communicate and stay on track, and Harting said he has used the possibility of there still being a season as encouragement. 

“As of now we are just over a week over until practices are supposed to resume,” Harting said. “Since they haven’t cancelled the season, everyone is still holding on to hope that we are going to be able to play. That right there is enough motivation for everyone to stay positive and keep working. All of us want to play.”

In case the season is resumed, the players have had to juggle quarantine with staying ready to play. WIth many facilities closed this may not be as simple as it seems, but nevertheless Johnson said that finding ways to work on his game has become an important aspect of this long break.

“The most important thing is to focus on live hitting and pitching,” Johnson said. “Practicing live game scenarios and at-bats is something I have really focused on. Although we can’t go to any gyms or the high school, a lot of public parks are still open and some guys have gone to Mason Sports Park or Fleckenstein to work on their game.

Photo by Tanner Pearson.