ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - The Bay College baseball and softball teams were both set to return from a road trip from Florida this past week, when they got the word their season was over. Both squads, in their second year, were looking forward to building on what they had learned in their first year of play.
In what ended up being the final day of the season, both the Bay College men and women managed to capture victories. Due to return to the Midwest, things were looking up for the Norse, hoping to make their mark in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
"To have it taken away from us, just as we're getting into it, getting into the exciting and the fun part, the part where it all pays off, is very disappointing," said Mike Pankow, head coach of the Bay College baseball team.
Softball coach Heidi Charon says that things were just starting to click on what could have been a special season.
"Even though we lost some games, you saw the potential that this team had,” said Charon. “I've been a part of a lot of softball teams and a lot of programs, and there are things I saw with this group of girls that I had never seen before."
Both coaches understand the gravity of the situation though, a global pandemic.
"When you think about why it's being done, of course it makes it a little bit easier to swallow, because we want to make sure we keep ourselves and our community healthy," said Charon.
Fortunately, with the disappointment comes a silver lining. The NJCAA announced that all players, freshman and sophomore will be given another year of eligibility so they can play again next year.
"Obviously, anybody that wants to come back and play for a third year with us, we will welcome them back with open arms, but we're also looking at some guys that had already planned on finishing up their two year degree, they're going to move on to a four year school and if they get the chance to play three years at a four year school, they will now have that chance because they're getting that year of eligibility back," said Pankow.
There are some who the Norse definitely plan to see back next year, the fans.
"We had a wonderful following with us in Florida,” said Pankow. “There were some games where it felt like we were playing in a home game, so it was fantastic to see."