By Sean Chase
Just as the Grand Rapids Community College baseball team found themselves atop the Michigan Community College Athletic Association’s Western conference with a record of 24-11, their season has been shut down due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
A press release from GRCC didn’t specify why the baseball team’s season had come to an end, however, The Collegiate spoke with Mike Eddington, GRCC’s head baseball coach, who clarified the situation.
“We had an outbreak with COVID with our team,” Eddington said
Having their campaign shut down in 2020, Eddington’s squad came into the 2021 season looking to leave their mark on the conference.
“Right now, I think all of the players are still kind of in shock, for the second year in a row not knowing they played their last game,” Eddington said. “That’s basically where we’re at right now.”
Sitting at 10-1 after the first 20 days of the season, the Raiders were overwhelming the competition. However, that is when the hardships showed up as GRCC dropped their next five games. The Raiders stayed resilient, pushing through the tough stretch and positioning themselves near the top of the conference.
After a dominating four-game sweep of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, the Raiders were in sole-possession of first place, and set to face Ancilla College in back-to-back double-headers on Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8, before heading into the MCCAA/Region XII seeding tournament.
Due to the most recent news, these games have been canceled, eliminating the team’s postseason hopes. The Raiders finished second in the MCCAA Western conference, allowing KVCC to take back control of first place.
“The health and safety of our players and our opponents is our top priority,” stated Interim Athletic Director David Selmon, in a press release. “Our team was playing very well and we’re proud of our student-athletes. But health comes first. This is unfortunate and disappointing, but it’s the right thing to do.”
Even though the Raiders season ended as a result of unforeseen circumstances for a second year, Eddington is happy with the resiliency his players have shown throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was happy, our guys never complained, with less practice time, and getting shut down the year before,” Eddington said. “(They were) just excited to play baseball again. Early in the year, we had some gut-wrenching losses, and it would have been easy to point fingers at themselves, but they showed up every day and worked hard, got better and better, and were able to get into first place. It was nice to see them come around, we were peaking at the right time. It was kinda nice the last weekend, the players kinda took over, coaches really didn’t even have to say anything. I think they grew a lot.”