LF Softball

The Lake Fenton softball team huddles after a game last season. The Blue Devils are one of many state-wide spring sports teams hoping their suspended season begins on April 5. 

 For the most part, the weather has been pretty nice in March.

 Certainly, at this time during most springs, Amos Rinks would have his Lake Fenton vars ity softball team on the softball diamond preparing for the upcoming season. Even if the weather wasn’t terribly great, the squad would be in the Lake Fenton gym doing what they can in preparation for the spring sports season.

 At the same time, Fenton varsity boys golf coach Kurt Herbstreit would be outdoors with his squad, probably on a local golf course. But that’s not happening either.

 Of course, the reason is the MHSAA’s decision, based on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recent executive orders, to suspend all spring sporting activities at least until April 5.

 MHSAA practices for spring sports started March 9 before all spring sports prep activities were suspended starting March 16. Obviously, Rinks had his team practicing prior to the suspension, but the squad was just getting to the point of making varsity cuts to establish JV and varsity squads.

 “The only thing I can say to them is I’m unsure of the future and unsure when we will reconvene and practice again,” Rinks said. “We didn’t even get into (separating JV and varsity teams) yet. I created a mass group contact for the team and told them to stay in shape on their own and do their best to keep from being infected by this virus.”

 Area golf courses were in as good as shape as they’ve been during this time of the year according to the courses.

 “It shocked me. This is unprecedented and I really feel bad for the seniors,” Herbstreit said.

“It looks like it may be the necessary thing we had to do. ... Who knows if we are able to start April 6. It will be hard to do because the season is already crammed during the spring. We had our first meet the week of the 13th. We had four events scheduled. Usually we try to beat the weather, but the weather is as good as it has been in the spring in recent seasons, and now this happens.”

 There was some good news last week when MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uly said during a radio interview on “The Huge Show” he was hopeful the spring season will still go on in some fashion. Even if it didn’t start on April 5, Uyl suggested possibly readdressing the issue every three weeks.

 “Some said you’re giving folks false hope with this approach,” Uyl said during the interview. I don’t think we’re giving false hope. I don’t know where we’re going to be in three weeks or six weeks and nine weeks. Frankly, with as much negativity and as anxious as we are right now, I just want some hope, period.”

 Lake Fenton athletic director Brad LaRowe feels for the kids.

 “We had kids that had their seasons suspended during the winter season hoping to finish their season and we have spring athletes who are seeing their season suspended before they start it,” LaRowe said. “I don’t know which one is worse.”

 Herbstreit said his team found out about the suspension of spring right before the start of practice.

 “All I can do is tell them to do things and check on them and see if they need anything and that’s about it,” Herbstreit said. “On social media I’ll post a picture ask them what did they do today.”

 “We can’t have mass group contact so all I can tell them is to stay in shape on their own, and do their best to keep from being infected by this virus,” Rinks said.

 Of course, there’s a good shot the entire spring season could eventually be cancelled.

 “We’re ready for that but we don’t wan that to happen obviously,” Rinks said. “We’d like to be able to resume and be able to get back to normal. We’d like to get back to having fun, playing softball and experiencing all the camaraderie and friendships that the kids experience every day with their teammates and their classmates when they see them in the hallway.”

 I feel really bad for our seniors,” Herbstreit said. “It looks like it may be a necessary thing we have to do. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

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