Restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are slowly getting lifted in the Gunnison Valley, yet seeing the return of sports — especially games — may still be far away.
Typically around this time of the year, balls can be seen flying left and right around Jorgensen Park baseball and softball diamonds. Coed adult league spring softballers wrap up their season and prepare for the summer season, while youngsters knock the dust off their cleats and prepare for their summer baseball and softball seasons.
Unfortunately, that will all be delayed this year.
The earliest possibility for game play may be July — that is if Public Health approves a plan submitted by Gunnison Parks and Recreation’s Dan Vollendorf. Vollendorf’s proposal doesn’t reopen youth and adult league sports until Phase 3.
Gunnison County is currently in Phase 1. Each phase is expected to last four to eight weeks, provided there is no resurgence of COVID-19. Phase 2 could occur as early as June 1, with Phase 3 beginning in July under ideal conditions. Phase 3 could allow for gatherings up to 250 people.
That essentially guts the summer season for adult and youth athletes, and comes as an even greater disappointment for the Gunnison High School (GHS) softball team, who uses the summer to get ready for the fall season.
“There is a lot of uncertainty, and we don’t know what this summer season is going to look like,” said incoming senior Ashleigh Porter. “It’s sad especially knowing this will be my last season, but we all have to do what’s right and keep everyone safe. So for now to be prepared, I go on runs and walks to keep in shape, and go throw the ball around with a few of my teammates when I can.”
Fellow incoming senior Britt Propernick expressed the same sentiment and added, “We will adjust and we still can hope for the fall.”
While potentially losing out on a summer season could affect how GHS performs early on this fall, head coach Leslie DiLorenzo is looking at this situation from a glass half-full perspective.
“Everybody is going to be in the same boat of trying to get kids back on the field and getting back to normalcy,” said DiLorenzo. “So we'll just have to wait and see and follow the guidelines that our health department says we need to.”
If things were to start up in July, the Cowboys could have a shorter summer season and would be in shape for fall camp which starts on Monday, Aug. 10.
GHS is scheduled to kick off its season on the road this year, traveling to Cortez on Saturday, Aug. 15.
(Brandon Warr can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)