Coaches and players knew this was coming.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey made it official on Thursday — state schools are closed until the end of the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Of course, right now, sports is secondary. Before we can even consider a return to the norm in the sports world we have to get on the other side of this virus. And we aren’t even close.
The number of cases in the state is now more than 500 as of Thursday. That will most likely increase.
While the governor’s order means a shift to on-line classes for students, it also brought a disappointing end to the season for every softball, baseball, tennis, golf, track and field and soccer athlete.
For the seniors, their high school careers are over. Just like that.
The trickle down effect that included the NBA, MLB and NCAA canceling or postponing sports is now complete.
The NCAA will most likely grant all senior athletes competing in spring sports an extra year of eligibility. In high school it can’t be done. There is no do over — is just over.
With the loss of spring sports we leave the season with plenty of what ifs.
The first thing that popped in my mind was the Corner baseball team. The Yellow Jackets close this season with a 14-1 record and a No. 2 ranking in Class 5A.
Loaded with seniors — Corner started eight at times — the Yellow Jackets were loaded. Corner also had three top-of-the-line pitchers, including Alabama signee Brayden Rowe.
Coach Josh Hoyle said he had a feeling that this team could do something special. Now we will never know.
I was looking forward to seeing the Jasper vs. Corner area games. Both teams are ranked in the top 5.
Jasper is another story altogether. After years of dealing with drainage issues in the outfield at Valley Park— it was basically a swamp — the Vikings were going to a completely artificial playing surface. The first home game was going to be on Feb. 16. Then the rains came.
Eventually the home opener was set for Thursday, March 19. The season was shut down on Monday.
Jasper — another team capable of making a state run — didn’t get to play a home game this season.
Sumiton Christian’s softball team, which also ends the season with a No. 2 ranking, has four seniors on the roster.
One of those, AK Tyree, has been a fixture on the Eagles’ roster since the seventh grade.
She’s a great player, team leader — the whole package. Tyree got injured earlier this season, but was planning on returning this month.
Now her high school career — which I’m sure would’ve ended at the State Softball Tournament at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park in two months — is over.
The next high school sport is football. I can only hope the next group of seniors is more fortunate.
Johnathan Bentley is the Daily Mountain Eagle Sports Editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.