Posted on: April 5, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Ethan Holesha

JRN 111 Student

Moraine Valley baseball head coach Hugh Dennehy is making sure that his players are improving on everything they can control, even though that isn’t much at this point.

The COVID-19 outbreak has already affected the entire world. Illinois is under quarantine until at least April 30, and schools, including Moraine, are completely online. With students no longer allowed on campus, spring sports have suffered tremendously as the remainder of their seasons have been cancelled.

This includes the baseball team, which started the season on fire with a 6-1 record.

Players felt this season was going to be special “without a doubt,” says freshman pitcher/infielder/outfielder Christopher Villafuerte. They put in a lot of offseason work to be prepared and wanted to keep building on the momentum from their strong start, he said.

Nobody could have prepared for something so catastrophic, so players and coaches have been forced to adjust. Even though they’re itching to get back on the field, they have no choice but to stay home right now.

Nobody has felt the effects of this pandemic on the team more than head coach Hugh Dennehy. However, Dennehy has been keeping in constant communication with his players, doing all he can to help them.

“The main focus that I tell our guys is ‘control what you can control,’” Dennehy said. “With the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s obviously out of our control and the players and us coaches have come to grips that sometimes there are more important things going on in life.”

It is a sticky situation for athletes and their coaches. Not being able to physically play and practice takes away the sport almost entirely, so the team is just sticking together and working with what they have left.

Photos by Ethan Holesha
Freshman Christopher Villafuerte stands alone in an empty field.

“Not much we can do,” says freshman infielder/outfielder Alex Martinez. “Everyone just needs to do what’s best for them at home like workouts, conditioning, and stuff like that until we are able to get back to regular life.”

Villafuerte says the players—many of whom were childhood friends—have a team group chat where they can talk to each other, and the coaches are doing a good job of staying in contact as well.

“The coaches let us know about the whole situation as soon as they knew the answers concerning our season,” he said. “Now, the coaches are just making sure we stay in shape and making sure that we stay on top of our school work.”

Players have been encouraged to do their own workouts until official routines are sent out shortly.

While this is an unfortunate situation for everyone on the team, the sophomores have been hit much harder.

“I think only a few are staying,” said freshman pitcher Brett Renken. “I do know of multiple guys that are leaving because they must be finishing their associate degree this spring. But overall, the guys are all sad this had to ruin our season.”

The sophomore players have big decisions to make. Do they stay another year? Do they plan to continue their baseball careers? Does this season still count for them? So many problems have sprung on them at once, and it’s a lot to take in.

The NJCAA has ruled that this year won’t count towards eligibility for any spring sport athlete, which means the sophomores can stay and play another year if they want to. Sophomore outfielder Niles Gall has already decided to play for Concordia University Chicago next year.

The future is uncertain for Dennehy and the team. All they can do is stay optimistic.

“These are unprecedented times,” Dennehy said, “and I feel we are all doing our part with the social distancing. As far as baseball resuming, time will tell. I’m hopeful for summer ball, but we will see.”

Ethan Holesha can be reached at holeshae2@student.morainevalley.edu.