08-06-2020 Tri-City Area Sports

CHAMPS… South Coast Blues 12U travel baseball team won the 2020 BPA World Series tournament in Sturgis on July 18. These athletes from all around Southwest Michigan, including Watervliet, Hartford, Dowagiac, and St. Joseph played 10 games in 3 days to win the series and receive rings. Their 2-year record of 51-9 reflects seven tournament wins out of the last 10 they participated in. Pictured (from the left) Front row – Caleb Jewell, Micah Herbst, Ryley Danapilis, Lennon Ellis; Middle row – Ruben Holleman, Brody Johnson, Rowan Bradford, Cooper Allwood, Isaac Weber, Bryce Vujtech, Owen Epple; Back row – coaches Clint Jewell, Mark Epple, John Johnson, and Marc Danapilis.

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Coloma fall sports teams ready to begin practicing Aug. 10

It has now been about five months since COVID-19 threw a knockout punch and floored the sporting world which shut down competition of every kind, in every country on the planet. Almost all professional American sports have resumed competition, although the fans who pay the bill are still not allowed to be on hand to watch any of the goings on first hand. Most of the sports channels have games to televise every day now.

The best news is, for the moment, the high school fall sports season is still on track to be played in the proper sequence. All of the fall Coloma Comet teams has been trying to knock off the rust from months of home confinement, in preparation for practices to begin for real in the next couple of weeks.

On July 17 the MHSAA Representative Council approved a “return to activity plan” for the 2020-21 school year, retaining the traditional calendar of fall, winter, and spring sports. But also allowing for the possibility that, the fall sports which could be forced to halt activity during the next four months may conclude later in the school year.

According to MHSAA executive director Mark Uhl, “The council reflecting on the positive impact on their athletes this summer from taking part in offseason training, feels it’s of the utmost importance to continue athletic activity moving forward.” He also explained that there was a fear among members of the council that if they take a month or more off many of the student athletes will find opportunities to compete in non-school activities, where most of them are not as focused on safety. Uhl goes on to say, “Our athletic directors and coaches can provide the safest possible environment to return to sports, and this phased in approach to competition will help schools continue building on the progress already made.”

Most fall sports are scheduled to begin regular practices on Aug. 12. However because no decision has been made regarding occupying the school buildings as of now, the volleyball teams may need to begin their practices outside until that bridge has been crossed. Boys soccer will also be allowed to begin practices on the 12th, but will only be able to practice with no scrimmages or competition allowed. Football practices will begin on the 10th, but practices in full player pads and equipment will be held off until the 17th.

The week of Aug. 10 for the football team may include practice sessions consisting of conditioning, physical training, and skills work, with only helmets allowed as equipment. As another safety measure, no scrimmages will be allowed for any of the three fall sports before the regular season competition begins. There will also be limitations put on the number of teams which can compete in tournaments and invitational events during the season. This would mostly affect the girls volleyball squad.

The MHSAA also posted on their web site a sport by sport guidance which outlines the increased precautions that will be taken to help prevent the viral spread. Some of the protocols which are outlined and would apply to all sports are guidelines for reporting COVID-19 infections. Guidance regarding the wearing of face coverings states, participating athletes are not required to wear them; however, bench personnel will have to wear them. Transportation, use of locker rooms, and properly cleaning the facilities is also outlined.

MLB moving on despite big virus outbreaks

Following the opening weekend of major league baseball, the Miami Marlins reportedly had more than a dozen players and team personnel test positive for the COVID-19 virus, and caused the first round of major