By JACE ARMSTRONG
Late in the day Wednesday, the Fort Hays State University baseball team canceled its final game in the 2020 Fall World Series, which was tied 3-3 in a best-of-seven contest.
“At first, I was really confused. Coach (Jerod) Goodale mentioned that the weather might push the game to Thursday, but I knew that wasn’t why we weren’t playing,” said pitcher Ethan Booe. “Covid-19 is just something we have had to deal with this year, so I understand the reasoning for the postponement.”
Unfortunately, a member of the baseball team tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. That individual remains in good health.
The early games in the series were nothing short of entertaining — from lights-out pitching to explosive innings at the plate. The Black and Gold teams both had high hopes for winning Game 7.
Outfielder Grant Schmidt said he was most looking forward to “the competitiveness and intensity of it being Game 7 of the World Series.”
After COVID-19 cut the 2019-20 season short, the team was excited to be able to practice, let alone play the closest thing to a real game.
“It felt really good just to be back at Larks (Park) again and to be with my teammates. It’s more enjoyable having so many returners this year and getting to kind of re-do this past spring,” Grant Schmidt said.
A re-do is in sight, but the team has ambitions to come back even stronger.
The Fall World Series was an opportunity to see a glimpse of the potential of this Springs’ squad.
“I knew we had a lot of talent to begin with, but we didn’t know each other very well last year because it was essentially a brand-new group of guys,” Booe said. “Now that we’ve spent a year together, our chemistry is stronger than ever and that will be a big X-factor for us come springtime.”
One area the team hopes to continue to improve on is the outcome of close games. Being able to win tight ballgames is something the Tigers have struggled to do the last few seasons.
The Fall World Series was something the entire team looked forward to after the Spring season was cut short.
Schmidt said his favorite part of the series is the friendly battles with his teammates.
“The competitiveness. It’s fun to get chippy with your teammates for a little bit,” he said. “It builds the teams character and prepares us for spring ball.”
For most members of the team, it is a great time to get back into the competitive mode and to remember what it feels like to compete to a higher level.
While the team was let down by COVID-19 once again, they have their hopes high with whatever comes next. That includes transitioning into fall individual workouts to refine skills needed for the regular season as the players continue to work to rebuild the program under Goodale’s leadership.