Bay County student-athletes and coaches get good news Wednesday

The Rutherford baseball and softball teams put out their own version of midnight madness Sunday night and into Monday morning.
The Rutherford baseball and softball teams put out their own version of midnight madness Sunday night and into Monday morning.(WJHG)
Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 5:11 PM CDT
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There is good news for area student-athletes, as they work their way back on to their respective high school campuses this week and beyond.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announcing a move to phase two of the state's reopening plan. That means local school districts can do the same.

The Bay District office reacting that that rather quickly, with Josh Balkom, the BDS Director of Operational Support sending out this email to principals and coaches, stating "Governor DeSantis announced this morning that our state will be transitioning to Phase 2 of the "Plan for Florida's Recovery." Therefore, effective Friday, June 5th, you may begin following our district's athletic guidelines for Phase 2. Please ensure your coaches have a thorough understanding of the expectations. It's not business as usual, but we welcome the progress!"

Balkom went to state he had visited some area schools this week and says he is impressed "with the coaches and athletes. They are doing a great job of following the safety guidelines while working really hard! You should be proud!"

Among those reacting to us quickly Wednesday afternoon was Bozeman baseball coach Jeff Patton, who wasn't going to bother bringing his kids out during phase one, the restrictions were too restrictive in a baseball sense. Now with phase two ahead, Patton told us this Wednesday.

"We are still not going to be in the weight room but at least we can get out on the field and practice. In phase 1 the boys couldn't even throw the ball to each other, so now they can at least play catch. We are still going to have some restrictions in place, where we're going to have to do some intermittent sanitizing of equipment and stuff. We will still maintain our social distancing. But we can get some modified practices in and probably will start doing that next week"

And coach Patton believes everybody involved is anxious to see baseball crank back up.

"I haven't heard so much from them (the players Wednesday) but I have heard from the parents." Patton told us. "The parents are ready for us to get going, they're ready for their kids to have something to do. Yeah the boys are excited, they want to get back on the field. Fortunately some of them have been able to play in some of the travel ball tournaments. Since that's opened up. We can get on the field, we can have bigger groups than we've had before. And we're just gonna start getting our arms in shape and start swinging the bats, shake some of the rest off. And if we can ever get to phase 3, maybe start playing some games again."

Other area baseball coaches telling us Wednesday they intend to get workouts going some time next week as well, including North Bay Haven and Mosley. The same for Arnold softball.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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