Picayune baseball looking to stay focused

Published 4:40 pm Friday, March 20, 2020

Picayune’s Maroon Tide baseball team fell 9-4 to the St. Stanislaus Rock-a-Chaws March 14.

The game ended up being Picayune’s last before the Mississippi High School Activities Association suspended all athletic activities until March 29.

Head Coach Evan Nichelson said rumors of the sport being suspended were already being circulated when the two teams met.

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The outside distractions may have played a role in the final result for the Maroon Tide, but overall Nichelson said his players were focused heading into the matchup.

“I thought we did a pretty decent job controlling what we could control and showing up to play. We’re still trying to piece everything together,” Nichelson said.

Picayune had scheduled multiple games for this week, but those matchups will have to wait as the MHSAA decides what the next step is for sports in Mississippi.

The Maroon Tide has a veteran squad and Nichelson said his seniors are hoping they haven’t played their last game in a Picayune uniform.

However, with things out of their control, Nichelson said the message to his players was just to focus on the details of baseball during the suspension.

“We’re taking it day by day. We’ve got a mature team, I feel like they’ll do little things on their own to stay in shape and stay focused,” Nichelson said.

Pitchers are expected to throw and do the other necessary activities to maintain arm strength in case the season starts up again, which will be crucial for the Maroon Tide pitching staff.

Batters will have to find ways to stay sharp during the suspension, as will the team’s defensive players.

“Our message is if it’s important to you, you’ll do the necessary things to prepare. It’s kind of a weird situation, but you trust the players to do what they’re supposed to do and that’s all you can do,” Nichelson said.

Prior to the suspension of the season Picayune had been somewhat inconsistent.

The team is 7-5 on the year and after a 4-0 start to the season had a hard time stringing wins together.

Obviously the athletes wish they were still playing, but having a bigger gap in between games could reinvigorate the players if and when the season starts back up again.

“Honestly we haven’t played our best ball yet. We’re 7-5 and still haven’t played our best game. Maybe a little break will help us. I told them be ready to go whenever they say we can get back out there,” Nichelson said.