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Spring Sports Seasons Canceled

"There's no doubt this was painful for all of us."


Countywide and Sun/Jacob Factor

Bethel senior Carter Monday in a scrimmage with Tecumseh before the spring season started. Bethel's baseball season was cut short after three games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the COVID-19 threat grows, pieces of every-day life keep getting put on hold.

Sports are some of those pieces.

Last week, the OSSAA board voted 13-0 on executive director David Jackson's recommendation to cancel OSSAA-sponsored activities for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year, which includes all spring sports seasons and the state basketball tournaments.

This cancellation affects all 12 high schools in Pottawatomie County, as well as ends the state basketball campaigns for the Shawnee boys and Dale boys and Girls teams.

"(This is) definitely the toughest endeavor I've faced in my coaching career so far," Bethel varsity baseball coach Lincoln Dearing said.

"(I) hate it for our seniors and baseball program. This was our year to get back to where Bethel Baseball used to be. Last summer when I was making the schedule for the 2020 baseball season, there is no way I could have imagined that our last game was going to be played on March 12th."

The Wildcats were 3-1 when the season was canceled and averaging 13 runs a game with a .440 team batting average.

"Each player gave it his all for the few games we did play. You are all winners, you will hold a special place in my heart," Dearing said.

"This season will have a lasting memory on my life. In all the years I've played or coached, nothing could have prepared me for this chain of events. To my senior players I say, thank you for the privilege of coaching each one of you. I salute you for the courage, leadership and energy you have shown to me and your teammates. The impact and culture you've set as the standard for the future of Bethel Baseball and Bethel Athletic teams will forever be remembered."

Shawnee Head Boys Basketball Coach and assistant athletic director Ron Arthur said he was hoping the state basketball game would get rescheduled.

"The cancellation the OSSAA issued last week was painful but understandable," he said.

"I phoned all of our varsity players to give them the news that the tournament has been canceled and all 13 of the players were obviously crushed to hear that news."

Countywide and Sun/Jacob Factor

Shawnee senior J'Briell Easley was supposed to compete with the rest of the Wolves in the 5A state basketball tournament before it was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

He said he told all the players he appreciated how hard they had worked throughout their 21-6 season.

"I appreciate how hard you worked to get a chance to experience the State Tournament atmosphere and to compete for a championship and I'm sad for you," he said to the team. "Thank you for your efforts and I love you."

He said the underclassmen will have a chance to qualify again next season, but it'll take more hard work.

"The conversations with our seniors: J'Breill Easley, Ka'Veon Sharp, and Moses Martinez was painful," Arthur said. "In addition to the mentioned comments, I told each senior how special they are to me as a person and how much the team will miss their leadership and guidance. There was a moment of tears and sadness with each senior over the phone. There's no doubt this was painful for all of us because this was such a close team."

The Wolves finished ranked 4th in Class 5A.


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