Nevada prep sports left in limbo |

Nevada prep sports left in limbo

With suspension of play starting Monday, Carson baseball and the rest of prep sports in Nevada left with uncertainty of what's next

By Carter Eckl

When the wind blowing out to center field wasn’t deafening, the conversation among the spectators in attendance seem to shift back to the same motif.

After competing in just seven scheduled contests this year, the Senator baseball team and everyone else in the state now sit in the realm of the unknown after the NIAA’s decision Friday afternoon to suspend high school sports indefinitely due to the concerns surrounding COVID-19.

That indefinite suspension will be in effect, starting on Monday.

Carson went into Saturday’s 17-7 loss to McQueen, treating the Northern Region matchup as if it was a playoff game.

“It kind of just sucks because we didn’t get to finish anything. We got to play two (region) games and that’s it. We don’t even get to practice. It sucks. It’s heartbreaking.”

In order to reach that postseason atmosphere, teams need to build over the course of the season to know where they’re best.

Saturday’s loss leaves Carson at 4-3 overall and having only played two Northern Region games, the Senators were still well on their way to figuring out the type of team they could have been in the playoffs.

The playoffs also bring finality; you win or your season ends.

Saturday’s contest didn’t bring any such closure.

“It kind of just sucks because we didn’t get to finish anything,” said Carson senior Garritt Benavidez, who was 2-for-3 at the plate Saturday. “We got to play two (region) games and that’s it. We don’t even get to practice. It sucks. It’s heartbreaking.”

Though the Senators tried to get their minds fully into their seven-inning affair, the larger questions still hung over the heads of not only the baseball team but also the fans next to both dugouts.

Uncertainty of what’s to come

With no timetable for the season to potentially resume, the Senators are left in limbo like everyone else.

Varsity newcomers sat in the dugout postgame trying to take in head coach Bryan Manoukian’s postgame message – uncertain if it’ll be the last one they hear until next spring.

Carson seniors sat with many different emotions, including frustration, sadness and uncertainty. Some just shook their heads in disbelief.

At this current juncture, no one wearing the Senators’ road pinstripes knew what was next.

Even the head coach had to take a moment before leaving the dugout to hug each senior individually in case Saturday’s contest at McQueen was the final one of the year.

“I’ve never encountered this situation. Not in my playing career, not in my coaching career,” said Manoukian. “It was really tough to get up for this game and get ready for it because it’s like, what are we playing for?”

Opportunities taken away

The indefinite suspension of the season hurts the seniors the most.

They may lose their last high school season.

They will lose irreplaceable opportunities to put together video highlights, stats and recruitment pitches to try and play collegiately.

“I hope that everybody really takes a deep breath, really sees what’s going on and what we are sacrificing,” Manoukian added. “These seniors, all across the nation, have been working for the last part of the season.”

To those five Senator seniors, Saturday at least gave them a chance to continue bonding.

Senior pitcher Justin Stevens said that Carson was trying to put together one more game for each other.

“Just sticking together as a team and making sure we put our heart on the field,” Stevens said, who had two strikeouts in just over an inning of relief work.

The suspension brings a halt to practices as well, leaving players on their own to try and stay ready for the season, should it resume.

Damian Branco, who got the start Saturday, said his routine won’t stop even though he will be without his typical coaching instruction.

With much uncertainty about what’s next, Manoukian is hopeful that a solution will be soon to follow.

“Hopefully in two weeks they can come up with a plan to get us back on the field.”