With the South Carolina High School League suspending spring sports until at least Apr. 30 to comply with SC Gov. Henry McMaster’s Executive Order to close public school’s until at least the end of the month, spring athletes have had their 2020 season taken away.
Those who are taking it especially hard are the seniors, who only had one more season to play at the high school level.
St. James High School has four seniors on its baseball team, and all four will be playing sports at the college level, so at least this is not the end of the line for them athletically.
One of these players is outfielder/pitcher Randy Smith, who will actually be playing football at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida.
“At first I thought it would be two weeks and then we would be back to playing, to a normal routine and finish the season,” Smith said. “But we can’t seem to do that. Hopefully, if anything, we get one more game. Our last game was at West Florence and we knew there was a possibility it could be our last game. After the game we were happy because we won and we didn’t know it was (for sure) our last game. One more game would be better than nothing. If that was my final game, I want to thank St. James for everything they’ve done for me.”
Smith has been doing everything he can to keep in shape to get ready for football during the suspended season.
“I’ve been doing kettlebells, ladder drills, sit-ups and crunches,” he said. “Anything I can do to stay in shape.”
Sharks first baseman Marshall Freeman will be playing baseball at Florence-Darlington Technical College next season.
“I knew it (the suspension) would happen sooner or later, but I was hoping it didn’t,” Freeman said. “It bummed me out because it was my senior season and my last time playing in high school.”
Freeman is hopeful that they may be able to salvage some of the season.
“I think if it dies down fast at the end of the season, we might be able to play a few games at least,” he said.
Freeman has been keeping himself busy during the suspended season.
“I’ve been going to cages and hitting with teammates,” he said. “Now that the gyms are closed up, I’ve been going to this other gym that my friend owns.”
Pitcher/third baseman Shawn Taylor will be heading to Hartsville to play baseball at Coker University next season.
“I was disappointed because we were just getting started and we had a good team,” Taylor said of the suspension. “It was crushing that it had to come to an end because of all this.”
Taylor hopes the team can at least have one last game.
“I hope we can have an opportunity for the seniors to have one last game and have a ceremony or something to remember the memories,” he said.
Taylor has been doing his best to stay in good baseball shape.
“I’ve been throwing three to four days a week and doing push-ups,” he said. “I’ve been doing anything to keep my body in shape since there’s no gym open right now. I run three to four days a week as well.”
Catcher Nikko Andre has not yet announced where he will be playing baseball next season.
“I’m waiting for this whole thing to die down and then I’ll make a decision,” he said.
Like his other teammates, Andre was disappointed by the news of the suspended season.
“It’s a sad moment,” he said. “You work hard the past four years to get to this moment and to have it taken away is a terrible feeling. We still played 10 games if you count scrimmages and we had fun, but I wish I could have all the games with them. Today (Apr. 6) would’ve been our senior night, and we got that taken away from us.”
Andre is hopeful the team can play again if the virus dies down soon.
“I’m hopeful we can get a couple games,” he said. “Just one more game in front of everybody is all I can ask for.”
Like his teammates, Andre has been keeping in shape.
“I’ve been running, working out, hitting and throwing in any place that’s open,” he said. “You have to keep everything the same. You can’t get game-like reps, but you can take what you have and workout.”