Here are some views, reactions and news from various areas, coaches and athletes regarding the current state of affairs due to the Coronavirus pandemic that’s forced suspension and cancellation of sports:
— Clarion University sophomore and Redbank Valley graduate Bryan Layton had appeared in four of the Golden Eagles’ 15 games to start the season, pitching out of the bullpen where he compiled a 4.50 earned run average with a 0-1 record and one save.
In six innings, he had struck out 13 and walked two. Basically, he was spotless in three of his four outings with all five of his runs in the one appearance. Last year, Layton compiled a 3.50 ERA in 18 innings over six appearances, striking out 17.
The Golden Eagles were 3-12 when the season stopped.
“It’s a shame to see our season go out this way,” Layton said. “I think it was a very hard decision for those in charge to shut down the season. Sporting events are one of the man events in the country that bring about large crowns of people so I can see why they are canceling to avoid the spread of the virus. But on the athletes’ side of the story, this was a huge heart-breaker. Our team meeting was very emotional when we were told about the ending of our season, especially for the season.
“Everyone was ready for conference play so we could go out and prove what we could do. We’ll be working hard over the offseason and be ready to start back up next fall.”
— Penn State-DuBois freshman and Union graduate Luke Salvo was eight games into his baseball season when the team found out about the canceling of the rest of the schedule while playing in Myrtle Beach.
“In all honesty, I was in disbelief that we were canceled,” Salvo said. “I was looking forward to playing my first year in college and really excited about our team this year. The hardest part was knowing that we had a special team this year and would never know how much we were capable of accomplishing.
“Our seniors this year were some of the best players and teammates I’ve every been around. I’ve been lucky enough to play with a lot of guys, but these seniors were great ballplayers and even better leaders.”
In the early going, Salvo saw action in five games and was 0-for-3 with a run scored.
— Craig Hibell, Redbank Valley baseball coach
The preseason was productive through the end of last week.
“In two full weeks, we were outside three times so we had a good amount of time on the mound with all our pitchers and getting them ready,” Hibell said. “We got them ready to pretty much throw 100 percent and then we also got a lot of work in with the infield and outfield outside. So in that short of time, we were able to get in a little bit of everything.”
Hibell had 16 on his preseason roster, two of them seniors. Had or has is the question, depending on how things play out.
“I mean as athletes we’ve always been taught to you deal with disappointment and failure,” Hibell said. “So I’m hoping that through athletics our kids are able to handle this maybe a little bit better than most kids would, but with seniors this year we have Austin Leasure and Ethan Wadding, two kids who have been role players on our team since their freshman year, so it was kind of exciting for them this year to probably have a chance to step up and be major contributors and probably start.
“I feel terrible for them with the situation going on so hopefully we can be back on track here in a couple weeks.”
— John Sayers, Redbank Valley softball coach
“I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve just sort of resigned myself that we’re just not going to do anything this spring,” Sayers said.
But Sayers’ team did scrimmage last Friday against DuBois and Curwensville on the turf at DuBois’ Heindl Field.
“We’ve been outside quite a bit and that’s what’s disheartening,” Sayers said. “This is probably one of the nicer springs we’ve had in I don’t know how long and we can’t do anything now. We got to play in a (scrimmage), but now we’re done. We did some nice things in DuBois and I was really pleased with my infield and the defense. Becca (Kunselman) did a great job behind the plate at catcher and hit very well.”
Kunselman is the team’s only senior on the roster.
— Andy Rex, Redbank Valley boys’ track and field coach:
“There’s not much we can say to the kids because we really don’t have much information at this point,” Rex said. “We can only hope that it’s only two weeks, but unfortunately, there are a lot of variables pointing in the opposite direction.”
—Geri Montgomery, Union track and field coach
She’s in her first year and said that there are 26 athletes — 16 girls and 10 boys — on the roster.
“I only have a couple seniors who will be extremely upset if there is no track season,” Montgomery said. “The majority of the team is freshmen and sophomores who just want to be able to compete some, but should be OK if the season is significantly shortened.
“Missing a season is a big deal to these kids. They have been working really hard and deserve a chance to compete.”
— Ron Rodgers, Union baseball coach
An assistant under Ange Salvo last year, Rodgers is now the head coach with Salvo serving as a volunteer assistant. Rodgers has 11 players on the roster, none of them seniors.
“With my group, I feel they have the ‘Let’s wait and see, but there’s always next year’ thought, but with any high school kid, you have to see what they see. No school for two weeks. If I had seniors, there would be a ton of disappointment. If there’s any good to come of this, it’s that point — no lost opportunity for a senior,” Rodgers said.
— Alex Bell, Union softball coach
The 2013 Redbank Valley graduate and former Lady Bulldogs standout takes over a Damsels squad after serving as an assistant coach last year. She has 11 players on the roster.
“We’ve been having open gyms since I was hired back in the early fall, two or three times a week so these girls haven’t had two weeks off in awhile,” Bell said. “Being a new program with younger players, I’m nervous to see how this delay pans out. … The hardest part is for a lot of my girls, they didn’t play a fall or winter sport, so they’ve been putting the work in since school started and for their season to be cut short with only two weeks of drills and conditioning, we were really hoping to put our first win in the books this year, so if we do come back, that’s still our goal.”