VIRGINIA — With temperatures reaching about 80 degrees Tuesday morning, the Virginia 14U girls softball team gladly took to the diamond near the Parkview Learning Center.
The 14 girls were denied their spring season due to the coronavirus and are just now getting into the swing of things midway through their third practice.
“Missing the whole spring, we were really chomping to get back out on the field,’’ said head coach Jeff Teasck.
The team had to adhere to strict guidelines, however, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Last week we started with our two pods of 10 and kept everything separated for now and made sure we followed all the guidelines,’’ Teasck said.
The coach said the two pods are required and must stay in separate areas of the field during practice.
The sharing of helmets, gloves, bats and face masks are all prohibited, Teasck said, which “wasn’t an issue at all.’’ Most had their own, he added, but if someone didn’t, they used the same team gear throughout practice to help prevent any possible spread, he added.
“The biggest hurdle was just doing our two pods of 10. Keeping the girls separated and staying in the same pod and making sure we did follow the guidelines.’’
Despite the impact of the virus nationwide, none of the girls “really expressed any concerns with our coaching staff here. But I laid it out there that we’re going to follow all the guidelines and do what we need to do to be safe at the same time.’’
Practice has been OK’d, but summer softball now has to wait for games to be given clearance.
“Hopefully somewhere in the June 20s we’ll be cleared for games. We’ve got tournaments scheduled already so just waiting for the green light’’ from the governor,’’ Teasck added.
With each practice pitch or play, the girls continued to polish their skills. But were they rusty in the beginning?
“Oh absolutely. We were really looking forward to a nice spring. Our group of junior high girls here have been playing together for a long time. At the end of last summer, they were fielding well, throwing well, hitting well,’’ the coach said. “When we missed the spring season, we started a little rusty of course but it’s coming. Shaking off the rust and the bugs. It’s going well so far, though,’’ he said of the great group of girls that work super hard.
The drills included hitters tweaking their swings, taking infield grounders and outfield fly balls, cutoff throws to the bases and pitchers and catchers working together.
Despite just a few days of practice, Teasck can see his club jelling, just like last year.
“This is an awesome group. We have an awesome group and one through 14 they’re a pretty solid group.’’
He added they have good fundamentals, a good attitude and no real complaints about the hot weather Tuesday.
Teasck had one trick up his sleeve, too, which will help with that.
“I brought some freezees for after practice today. It keeps them excited and ready to work hard.’’