PRC softball knew suspension would come

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 21, 2020

Pearl Pearl River Central’s Lady Blue Devils beat the Pass Christian Pirates twice in a double header held March 14.

The first game ended 8-1 and the second game ended 11-0.

Madison Smith pitched a complete game in the first matchup to earn the win while Jazmin Robertson did the same in the second contest.

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Keigan Pearson had a home run in each contest with Madi Glidewell adding a home run of her own in the second game.

Head Coach Tony Labella said the games were part of a strange situation as his players knew the possibility of a suspension from the Mississippi High School Activities Association could be on the horizon.

“I’m really glad we got the chance to play Saturday because we have nine seniors and if it was their last game I’m glad they have something good to remember the season by,” Labella said.

Sure enough, the MHSAA announced on March 16 that all athletic activities would be suspended until March 29.

Governor Tate Reeves later put into place an executive order closing all schools until April 17, which led to the MHSAA lengthening its suspension of athletic play to April 17 as well.

Labella had his athletes get their gear out of their lockers in the field house prior to the suspension so they’d have the necessary equipment to continue playing softball at home.

The suspension may lift at any point, which means Labella wants his players to be prepared if they’re able to get back on the field.

Labella said the teams that’ll do the best when the season starts again will be those that asked players to continue working during the suspension.

“I just told them the number one thing is to be safe, but we did encourage them to try and keep in shape. It’s one of those things where you have to be prepared to come back, while praying everyone around the world is ok,” Labella said.

Labella said the suspension would likely have a negative impact on the team if and when the season starts back up again.

Softball is a sport that requires the athletes to be in rhythm and after having a couple weeks with no competition there’s no telling how prepared the athletes will be.

Coaches in Florida are petitioning to move championship competitions into June, which is something Labella said he’d support.

“There’s a lot of seniors (on our team) and to not have that final send off with senior night and a playoff game (would be hard.) I would definitely be in favor of pushing it back, but obviously there’s a lot of logistics involved,” Labella said.

It’s still not known if the team’s doubleheader against Pass Christian will be the last competitive action for the Lady Blue Devils.

Everything is up in the air currently, but Labella said if that was the team’s final set of games he’s happy his team had the chance to compete before the suspension. “We knew it was coming and so Saturday we were really glad to get that in. Even if we had lost it would’ve been a good game to play before this thing changed everybody’s lives so drastically,” Labella said.