The Hilliard Darby baseball team was heading into the season with big expectations following last year's postseason run.
However, the season appears to be in jeopardy, as spring sports were indefinitely postponed by the OHSAA on March 13 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
An initial statewide three-week closing of schools by Gov. Mike DeWine ends Friday, April 3. The OHSAA instituted a no-contact period during that time, although teammates can communicate and coaches are allowed to send their players suggested workouts. The earliest spring sports could begin under the initial ruling is April 11, following a five-day acclimation period.
Update: DeWine announced March 30 that schools will remain closed through May 1.
"We have the potential to have a really good team," said Panthers coach Mike Weer, whose team reached a Division I state semifinal last season before losing to Cleveland St. Ignatius 4-3 in 13 innings to finish 24-8. "I feel for those kids, I feel for the seniors, and I hope there's at least a light at the end of the rainbow. But to be honest, all of that is out of our control.
"It's definitely unprecedented, uncharted waters for everybody."
Looking to rebound from last year's 8-18 finish, the Davidson baseball team is doing its best to remain hopeful for a resumption of spring activities.
"It's a wait-and-see approach, which is hard," coach Justin Swallie said. "Our last day of practice (March 12), to look at our seniors and tell them I don't know what's going to happen, that was really hard and it was hard for our seniors not knowing if that was going to be the last time they step foot on our field this year. It's definitely difficult, but we're staying positive."
Athletes are training at home and staying ready in the event the spring season resumes.
Panthers senior catcher Kristian Amaro said he's been spending time throwing weighted balls, doing squats and pushups and working on a turf mat in his garage where he can practice blocking balls and work on his transfers by throwing into a net. He also conducts hitting off a tee into the net.
"I can't see live pitches (practicing at home)," said Amaro, a University of Charleston commit. "Usually my dad throws me (batting practice) and stuff like that, so it's tough that I can only hit off the tee. But I can work on my mechanics and things like that."
Junior right-side hitter Johan Gilbert of the Bradley boys volleyball team said he has been doing 100 pushups and 100 crunches every day, plus "a lot of curls" and two-mile runs, to stay in shape for the season.
Gilbert, who is 6-foot-3, also stands under the basketball hoop in his driveway and tries to dunk as many times as he can in a row.
"I saw Magic Johnson would do that when he played in the NBA, so I try to do that," said Gilbert, who had 570 kills, 97 blocks and 35 aces and was named first-team all-region in Division I and first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division last season. "I know a lot of kids aren't doing a lot over break, but I don't want to be that way. Some kids are using it to get ahead, and when I get back (on the volleyball court), I don't want to fall behind anyone."
Lindsay Stull of the Davidson girls track and field team has been keeping busy by running near her house.
The junior led the Wildcats in the Division I state meet last season by placing third in the 1,600 meters (program-record 4 minutes, 49.05 seconds) and 13th in the 3,200 (11:17.6). She also joined senior Riley Ries and 2019 graduates Sophie Lewis and Ellie Tighe on the seventh-place 3,200 relay (9:05.88).
"A lot of the girls on the team still keep our training up," Stull said. "We can still go out and run, which is one of the nice things about track. We can go out and run and keep our workouts up. We're trying to keep a sense of normalcy with our training even though we don't have (team) practice."
Stull said she feels fortunate to be a junior and empathizes with the seniors who could lose their final year with the program.
"I consider myself very lucky because I know this could very well have been me as a senior next year," Stull said. "I feel bad for the seniors, but I know a lot of them are still training like normal. They still have the hope that we're going to have a season. For the underclassmen, I hope they can (continue) and try to get better from the situation."
Senior shortstop Lily Garnett Brown of the Darby softball team has been spending time running on a treadmill and working on fundamentals in her backyard. However, she acknowledged that she's limited in what she can do without her teammates.
"It's been pretty nice the past couple of days, so I've hit into a net in my backyard, but I haven't really gotten together with the girls," Garnett Brown said. "So that's put a damper in my plans I guess, but I've been doing what I can."
Senior distance runner Daniella Santos of the Darby girls track and field team said nothing has really changed for her from a training perspective.
"Pretty much it's just been running every day as usual," said Santos, who placed 15th (18:19.6) of 183 runners in the Division I state cross country meet last fall before finishing 28th of 40 runners at the Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals on Dec. 14 in California. "I've been keeping up my same schedule as I did before all of this happened. I've also been biking to kind of keep myself busy and active, too."
ThisWeek reporters Frank DiRenna and Scott Hennen contributed to this story.