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Thursday July 2, 2020
KICK IN THE GUT: Bay Seasons Officially Canceled

CLICK THE AUDIO BUTTONS TO HEAR FULL INTERVEIWS WITH COACHES HEIDI CHARON AND MIKE PANKOW.

ESCANABA---
The Bay College Norse baseball and softball seasons officially came to an end on Monday with the NJCAA announcement that the spring sports seasons have been canceled due to the coronavirus. The organization had temporarily suspended the seasons on Friday, leaving hope that the season could resume at some point.
 

Not anymore.

"For all of us players and coaches, it's quite a kick in the gut," Norse softball coach Heidi Charon said. "Even though we saw it coming down the road potentially, it still hurts to hear officially. Everybody's sad to say goodbye to at least a couple of our sophomores, if not more, without the chance to finish out the season."

Charon says her team had a lot of potential this year, and showed it during last week's trip to Florida where they had a 6-6 record against strong competition, and five of those losses came in the final inning of those games.

"Gosh, we've been working hard at this since August," Charon said. "To put in that much work and not be able to see it through is tough. But when you think about why it's being done, of course, it makes it a little bit easier to swallow. It's important reason. We want to be able to keep ourselves and our community healthy."

The news didn't sit any better with the men's baseball team, which was also holding out hope that a season could still be held at some point.
 

"It's very disappointing from a couple of different standpoints," Norse baseball coach Mike Pankow said. "Obviously, we put in a lot of work getting ready for the season. And to have it taken away from us just as we're getting into the exciting and the fun part, the part where it all pays off, it's very disappointing."

"Then, your mind kind of goes to the young men who have been working their tails off to get to this point," Pankow continued. "They might be done with playing organized baseball for their careers after this announcement. But you also look at the severity of what's going on, and the gravity of the situation, and I completely understand the decision. I support it even though it's bad for my team."

The Norse baseball team finished the Florida trip with a 4-8 record, highlighted by two dynamic pitching performances by Tanner Halvorson, who threw a no-hitter and two-hitter and struck out 32 batters in two complete game efforts.

Halvorson, a sophomore transfer student, will have another year of eligibility added by the NJCAA as a part of the cancellation announcement.
 

"It's going to be a benefit because, obviously, anybody who wants to come back for a third year and play for us, we'll welcome them back with open arms," Pankow said. "We're also looking at some guys that had already planned on finishing up their two-year degree and moving on to a four-year school, now, if they get the chance to play three years at a four-year school, they'll take that chance."

That applies for softball, too.

"That's a little bit of a silver lining," Charon said. "And the last email we received from them that all of our players, freshmen and sophomores, will get that extra year of eligibility. But they're also considering increasing the schools' in each sports letters of intent, so we could have a slightly better team."

The Norse were led by freshman Lexi Chaillier, who torched the competition with eight home runs and 22 runs batted in. She had 29 hits in 49 at-bats for a .592 average.

"We saw some brilliance in Florida," Charon. "I'm going to focus, intentionally, on next year, instead of the disappointment of this announcement."

The NJCAA announcement is below:
 

Following the recent recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NJCAA has made the difficult decision to cancel all upcoming basketball championships as well as spring competition, effective immediately.
 

"In light of the progressive evolvement of the COVID-19 situation, the NJCAA has decided to end all competition for the remainder of the academic year," stated Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO. "As an association, the NJCAA exhausted all possible avenues to potentially postpone competition for both upcoming basketball championships and spring sport competition.

"We believe following the recommendations of the CDC is in the best interest of our member colleges and our student-athletes."
 

Spring competition includes all practices, regular season, postseason, and national championship play.
 

Regarding eligibility for spring sports, no spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled at a member college in 2020 will be charged a year of participation.
 

Along with the cancellation of competition, all on and off-campus recruiting for all sports will be halted until April 15 with further evaluation to be assessed at that point in time. 
 

The NJCAA will explore the opportunity to expand allowable Letters of Intent for spring sports for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years under the recommendation of the NJCAA Eligibility Committee. The NJCAA will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as more information becomes available.
 









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