By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — The Piqua High School spring coaches are keeping up hopes that the tentative schedule put in place by the OHSAA — dependent on school resuming May 1 — will happen.
Piqua baseball coach Brad Lavey said he has given his kids workouts to do and said there are simple things you can do at home in that sport.
“Just remember, all it takes is a bottle cap and broomstick to work and improve in the game of baseball while still practicing social distancing,” Lavey said.
He talked about one college baseball player who had a baseball inside of a sanitized sock and was throwing it to himself.
“That is the lengths we are going to right now,” Lavey said. “I have been at this (baseball) 41 years and never been through anythings like this. It is unprecedented.”
And he knows, if the season does resume, one of the difficulties will be dealing with the pitch count.
“Typically, you have about six weeks in the pre-season to build the strengths in the pitcher’s arm,” Lavey said. “It isn’t the rule that is a problem. It is the health of the players. There are going to be games early on where you may have to use a different pitcher every inning. The depth of a team’s pitching staff is going to be key.”
And Lavey feels for his seniors Iverson Ventura and Cameron Deal.
“At this point, I will just be happy if we can just play some games,” Lavey said. “Those guys are both hoping to get the opportunity to play somewhere next year. One of the things I tell them is I didn’t get recruited until after the Connie Mack tournament (at the end of the American Legion season) in summer ball.
“If we don’t get to play, hopefully they can play a little more in summer ball. But, one of the things I always tell kids is your time in the sport doesn’t have to end. Whether it is coaching or playing club ball or things like that, you can continue in the sport.
“This has been tough (not playing). I am just hopeful we will get to play.”
Piqua coach Greg Campbell finds himself in an unusual spring — not out on the diamond, although he hopes that will change.
“I am getting tired of mowing the yard,” Campbell said with a laugh. “This is (very different).”
Because the pitching motion is softball is not as hard on the arm, that is not Campbell’s concern with a short pre-season.
“It is not an arm strength issue,” Campbell said. “My concern is we are going to have a number of freshman playing (without much time to get ready for the season). That is where my concern is.”
Like all coaches, Campbell doesn’t want to see seniors Hannah Anderson, Lacee Cotterman and Kathy Young lose their senior seasons.
“Hannah (Anderson) and Kathy (Young) have been solid players for us,” Campbell said. “And Lacee (Cotterman) saw a lot of playing time on JV last year and was set to move up. You just hope they get the opportunity to play some games.”
For now, Campbell is just doing what he can to make sure his team is ready if the season resumes.
“I have sent them all workouts (they can do at home),” he said. “Hopefully, we will get to have some kind of season.”
Piqua coach Brian Gillespie is just hoping to have some kind of season.
“There is always hope,” Gillespie said. “We should find something out in the next week or so. We have been sending kids conditioning things to do and hopefully, they are staying active.”
Gillespie has two seniors on the team.
“One of them was coming back after a year off and the other one was going to help us,” Gillespie said. “We were really excited with what we had seen in the preseason (before practice was stopped). Chip Hare 9Piqua Athletic Director) has been doing a lot of senior spotlight stuff to get them recognition. We felt like we had a lot of momentum. So, it is unfortunate. We are just hoping to get the opportunity to play.”
Track & Field
Kurt Albers was excited about his first season as Piqua coach — before practice came to a halt.
“We had shown a lot of improvement,” Albers aid. “Our numbers were a lot better. We were excited about the season. Now, you just have to hope the kids are doing the conditioning and workouts you send them.”
Albers would hate for his seniors to lose their final season.
“It would be a shame,” he said. “They were ready to show the improvement they had made and have a chance to show what they could do as senior. You don’t want to see that.”
Sophomore Camilla Nicholas finished seventh at the Division I state meet last year as a freshman and could miss out on the opportunity to be a state-placer all four years, a rare accomplishment.
“And she has the opportunity to do it in multiple events this year,” Albers said. “It would be a shame if she missed out on that. Until we hear otherwise, there is always hope.”
And there would be no sweeter sound than the resumption of practice at PHS in the near future.
Contact Rob Kiser at [email protected].
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