WILLIAMSBURG — In normal times, the 13th Region Baseball Tournament would have been played this week but a "new normal" is in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which canceled all spring sports.
Jeremy Shope’s Whitley County Colonels were one of a handful of teams picked during the preseason to make a run at the 13th Region crown but they never got the opportunity to show what they could do on the diamond.
The Colonels were coming off a 25-win season that saw them advance to the 13th Region semifinals, and they had hopes of accomplishing even more this spring.
“We have so much time and effort put into our program. People on the outside looking in oftentimes don't see that,” Shope said. “It's a big deal to my seniors and my team to get their season canceled. It's somewhat like dealing with a death.
“My seniors should have that choice to get to come back and get to experience their senior year,” he added. “They've had something they love stripped from them with no goodbye. Classroom gone, hallways gone, prom gone, honor's night gone, senior night gone, relationships cut short. I will always remember the day that I talked to my team the day we were put on dead period. We all thought it would be a short time. It has all just seemed like a bad dream. We just have to trust in God.”
Shope said with nine seniors returning to the mix this spring, he liked his team’s chances of making a deep postseason run.
“There was a lot of excitement around our program for this season,” he said. “We have experience, we can play defense, we can pitch it, and we have a team that plays for each other. Baseball championships are no guarantee but I sure liked our chances.”