The Calhoun Sandcrabs Baseball season came to a pause in March due to the epidemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The UIL announced late in March that they suspended all activities due to the COVID-19 epidemic in the state of Texas.
Sandcrabs Baseball Coach Mike Innerarity talked to the Wave about the suspension of the season via email interviews.
“It is very tough as a coach dealing with this,” Innerarity said. “We had started playing pretty good baseball, and to have as many Seniors as I do in the program, and for them to possibly miss the remainder of their Senior year is really hard to swallow.”
Innerarity was leaving a “sub-varsity tournament” when he got the news of the UIL suspending activities and said he later forwarded the message to his varsity players.
When the players got the news, they were in a state of disbelief, Innerarity said. He added their “initial response” was they nor did he think it would come to this.
“At first I was shocked and really upset,” Sandcrabs Senior Pitcher Conner Kestler said. “But with the coronavirus spreading throughout the country, it was necessary to suspend the season.”
Kestler talked about coping with the suspension of his senior baseball season. He said he is handling it the best he can and added he is improving his game “every chance” that he can.
“I’ve been throwing with one of my former teammates about twice a week since this has started,” Kestler said. “And I’ve been hitting almost every day since I am able to have access to a batting cage at my house.”
Both Kestler and Innerarity talked about how much they miss being on the baseball field for games and practices.
“I miss it a lot. To think that I could’ve played my last high school baseball game and gone to my last practice and not even have known is a scary thought,” Kestler said. “You can’t take things for granted and play every game like it’s your last.”
Innerarity said there are no words to describe how much he misses coaching baseball.
“I have been coaching baseball in the spring for over 30 years. I truly feel like I have handcuffs on,” Innerarity said.
Innerarity talked about his players, especially his seniors that are on the team, and he said his seniors want to finish their year. He added there is a lot of disbelief coming from his seniors and the underclassmen, too.
He later talked about he misses spending time with his players during games and practices.
“It’s really hard to describe the feeling you get when you can’t interact with your players,” Innerarity said. “We spend so much time together, especially the first couple of weeks of the season, with the tournaments.”
As coaches, they are around the players as much as their parents, Innerarity said.
“These guys have been around each other for years, and it is really hard to know that the seniors have had to lose most, if not all, of their last year of playing baseball together,” Innerarity said. “Plus, there is no better sanctuary than being on the baseball field, both for coaches and for players.”
As one of the leaders and seniors on the team, Kestler said he has been giving his teammates hope that there will be a season to play after the pandemic is over.
Kestler talked about being in Calhoun Athletics and how it impacted his life.
“Calhoun Athletics has impacted my life in an amazing way,” Kestler said. “It has made me a better person. I learned lots of lessons they use on the field, but I think I learned even more that I can use in life.”
The coaches and teammates that he had a chance to be around those four years pushed him to be a better athlete and a better person, Kestler said. He added he wouldn’t be who he is today without them.
Innerarity talked about overcoming obstacles and situations like this, and he said he and his team have overcome adversity, challenges, and losses, and are optimistic that the season will resume.
“These guys have a chance at a playoff spot,” Innerarity said. “I guess one positive these guys can at least walk away with if it doesn’t go like we want it to, is that, if it ended today, these guys would be a playoff team.”