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Spring sports seasons canceled due to COVID-19 crisis

Kitsap Sun (Bremerton) logo Kitsap Sun (Bremerton) 4/6/2020 Jeff Graham, Kitsap Sun
a baseball player throwing a ball: South Kitsap baseball head coach Marcus Logue hits balls to his outfield during practice at South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard on Thursday, March 12, 2020. © MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN South Kitsap baseball head coach Marcus Logue hits balls to his outfield during practice at South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Gov. Jay Inslee's announcement Monday ordering a statewide shutdown of schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year extinguished the hope that high school sports will resume this spring as the COVID-19 crisis continues. 

Inslee and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal issued the joint announcement Monday afternoon.

"Today, I am extending the on-site instruction closure order," Inslee said. "All public and private K-12 schools in our state will be stopped from providing traditional, in-person instruction through the end of this school year in June."

Local school districts began suspending spring sports activities during the second week of March — in the preseason, before official games and events were held — as COVID-19 concerns increased. Later, Inslee ordered all public and private schools in the state to be shut down from March 17-April 24.

Monday's announcement to extend the school closure until the end of the school year didn't come as a surprise to many. 

"I hate to say it, but I've had the feeling it's been coming," Central Kitsap High athletic director Bill Baxter said. "I just feel so bad. I really feel bad for our seniors."

South Kitsap baseball coach Marcus Logue and athletic director Eric Canton echoed Baxter's sentiments, expressing disappointment for the senior athletes that may never play their sport again.

"Just devastated for our guys," Logue said. "This is a big part of their lives."

“We all remember the stuff that we were involved in during high school," Canton added. "Those are the things we look back on during our reunions. Those things are not going to happen now.”

Despite being separated from coaches and teammates during the state's current stay-at-home order, many athletes continued to work out and train in isolation, holding out hope for an abbreviated season. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association kept the possibility of hosting state championships alive as long as school returned by early May. 

That possibility effectively ended Monday.

"I’ve been really hoping we can get back to normal, that kids could get some kind of a spring season in," Olympic High athletic director Nate Andrews said.

Andrews' son, Taylor, is a senior on Olympic's baseball team and he doesn't have plans to play in college. 

"It hits close to home," Andrews said. 

At Central Kitsap, the Cougars have a brand new track, baseball field and softball field that won't see any use this spring.

"It's just sitting there and it's 65 degrees out and sunny," Baxter said.

North Kitsap baseball coach Jeff Weible said the only time he'll need to spend up at the Vikings' field this spring will be to water new sod that's been installed.

"We kind of have to live day by day," Weible said.

With spring sports cancelled, there are concerns that the fall 2020-21 season could be effected, especially if teams and athletes are unable to train this summer. 

"When you hear the NFL might not being ready to go," Canton said, "you kind of have to throw us in as well.”

Little league, pee-wees and all kinds of youth sports is in the same boat as high school sports. 

"We are going to be in a different world," Andrews said, "coming out of this."

North Kitsap baseball coach Jeff Weible said he's been making trips to the Vikings' baseball field to water new sod that's been installed. 

We just kind of have to live day by day

This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Spring sports seasons canceled due to COVID-19 crisis

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