Baseball Hawks affected by coronavirus
By Jay Hammel
It was a day to remember. The Hawks just avenged being swept by scoring an exhilarating 39 runs during a doubleheader sweep of Hannibal-LaGrange on Wednesday afternoon (Mar. 11).
Less than 24 hours later, the Hawks held practice to prepare for a GLVC-weekend in Kansas City, Missouri.
The practice ended in a peculiar way, with tear-filled eyes, and players wondering if it would be the last time some would ever be a student-athlete.
This is because they had to swallow the reality of having their season come to an abrupt ending as the NCAA canceled all spring sports due to developing complications with the coronavirus pandemic.
A day later, the GLVC posted a statement ending all their sanctioned activities for the rest of the year.
When the reality sunk in, there was overwhelming uncertainty pertaining to the question of eligibility for all spring sports student-athletes.
The NCAA eventually decided that they would grant another year of eligibility for spring sports student-athletes, but there was still a decision to be made.
It’s a tough choice for many seniors, who had plans to be done playing. They could either come back for an extra year or be done with baseball.
Nolan Snyder, Hawks Center Fielder, was in the midst of his redshirt-senior season at Quincy and was in shock about the entire situation.
“I remember sitting on the field watching the live at-bats and Coach Santi showing me the tweet from the NCAA about the cancellations of the spring championships and just being in shock,” Snyder said. “Walking out to center field for maybe the last time that day was weird because it didn’t happen after a game or when we knew the season was over, it happened over a tweet.”
Quincy has been home to Snyder and his family for six years now, ever since his older brother transferred in the year before Nolan arrived.
Snyder is grateful for the relationships he has made in the course of his time and plans to maintain those friendships in years to come.
“I owe a lot to Coach Rabe for bringing my brother and me in and making us a part of Quincy Baseball,” Snyder stated. “Our whole goal was to leave the program better than we found it (even though it’s rapidly trending upward), and fortunately we were able to be part of some really successful teams and play with some of the best players to walk through the gates of QU Stadium.”
Head Coach Josh Rabe has laid out some options to make Snyder’s return happen although Snyder has to take into account all the factors that come into play.
“It’s been tough thinking that possibly my last time playing ended in a pulled hamstring and then through Twitter, but if it was, I know I gave the program everything I had over my time,” Snyder said.
Alex Pribyl, The North Star State native, received the news in a particularly unique way, recognizing his teammates who he started school with were about to be forced to leave without a proper send-off.
Pribyl missed a majority of the 2019 campaign due to his elbow injury and was on the brink of making his 2020 debut before he received the devastating news.
“I still had one year left guaranteed but after rehabbing to come back healthier and stronger than before in order to compete in this 2020 season, I felt like all my work had been negated,” Pribyl said.
Pribyl got cleared to pitch the following weekend against Drury and furthermore, his parents had already booked hotel rooms for his first game back.
“Overall I was bummed, to say the least, the whole season got derailed right when I was healthy enough to compete with the boys again,” Pribyl said.
Pribyl predicts everyone is going to come back with a chip on their shoulder after getting a whole season just taken away, and thinks it’ll be interesting to see who took this time to get better and who didn’t.
“My main personal goal for next year is to just find a spot in the bullpen rotation that gives us the best chance to win,” Pribyl stated. “I don’t care if that means facing one guy or ten, I’m just there to help us win and put a 1 in the W column.”
Dalton “Streeter” Overstreet, who takes on a big role as a starting pitcher as well as coming out of the bullpen for the Hawks, was in his current fifth year due to surgery in 2018.
During that period of time, the Hawks advanced to the World Series and Overstreet had to sit out and not get a ring that year.
“It was pretty bittersweet getting one the following year and just made me want to get one each year that followed,” Overstreet said.
Overstreet is coming back for the sixth year and has pending aspirations he’d like to achieve one last time as a Hawk while planning to work harder than ever before.
“I have a lot of friends on the team that I think look up to me and it’s time to take action in a way that will make the younger guys feel the same way I do,” Overstreet said. “I want to ensure that they know what it’s like to be a Hawk baseball player.”