By Ray Hamill — Local baseball fans are missing out on some top-class pitching this spring.
With all sports on hold for now because of the ongoing concerns over the coronavirus, the high school baseball season has been suspended, and with it the opportunity to see some outstanding local pitchers in action.
Players like Arcata’s Merek Sears and St. Bernard’s Nick Dugan, each of whom have committed to play at PAC-12 schools after graduation, as well as McKinleyville senior Cameron Saso, the reigning Big 5 MVP Pitcher who tossed a no-hitter in his only appearance this season before the shutdown.
And they’re not alone.
This was going to be the final go-around for Ferndale’s Landon Gomes, another outstanding local pitcher who we may not get to see again playing high school ball.
“I think they’re kind of in shock,” McKinleyville head coach Scott St. John said of his players. “I’m really bummed for my seniors, Cam especially. He’s a guy who put in a lot of work and basically he gets a year taken away. It’s just a bummer.”
Sears, who will play at Washington State after graduation, is another top-class pitcher we may not see again.
The reigning Humboldt Sports Pitcher of the Year was expected to have a stellar senior campaign.
Dugan, who has verbally committed to play at Stanford when he graduates, is another standout many local fans were looking forward to seeing in 2020, although he is still only a sophomore and will get more opportunities here on the North Coast.
Others too were gearing up for a big spring on the mound, including a pair of Dugan’s St. Bernard’s teammates, senior Lane Thrap and junior Bode Joyner, among others.
At Eureka, big things were also expected out of junior Hayden Bode on a deep and talented Loggers staff, while Saso’s Mack teammate Corbin Eichin was anticipated to pick up just where he left off late last year and have a big junior season.
Likewise with Sear’s Arcata teammate Asher Meadows, a senior who appeared to be coming into his own, as well as the Fortuna pairing of Branson Gans and Wyatt Wilson, each of whom looked ready to surprise some people this spring.
Even at Hoopa, where the Warriors have struggled in recent years, Daniel Minton and John Smith got the season off to a positive start before the shutdown and also appeared poised to surprise some people on the hill this season.
Whether we still get to see any of these pitchers remains to be seen and for now we can only hope.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” St. John said of the shutdown. “But you’ve got to get through it and hopefully at some point we might be able to play an abbreviated season.”