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An unusual summer awaits for PRCC baseball and softball

Pearl River Community College’s baseball and softball programs are striving to move forward during these uncertain times as restrictions begin to lift on athletic activities.

PRCC’s baseball and softball players missed out on the majority of their respective seasons because of COVID-19, but there will be opportunities over the summer to get some game experience with multiple summer leagues being hosted on the PRCC campus.

Head coach of the baseball program Michael Avalon said the Deep South League and Southeastern Collegiate League will be having games at PRCC throughout the week.

Along with the summer league games taking place, recruiting has now been opened up to allow in-person visits after months of the practice being prohibited.

Avalon said there will also be several high school travel ball teams who will be playing at the River over the summer, which paired with the approval of in-person visits, will give the staff an opportunity to scout potential recruits.

“We’ll be fortunate here at Pearl River because pretty much every weekend we’ll be hosting high school summer teams on campus to where the players will get to see the campus, facilities and we get to watch them at our place,” Avalon said.

Christie Meeks heads the softball program and she said even if her players weren’t able to be part of a summer team to still look for opportunities to get work in over the summer months.

Getting repetitions is important for softball and baseball players, and especially so after seeing their seasons cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“(I told them to) get live reps at a practice with a summer team where if you’re a pitcher, ask to pitch to their players, if you’re a catcher, see if you can catch some reps for them. Anything you can do to get somewhat live reps is really important for them,” Meeks said.

Last season was Meeks’ first in charge, so not only has she lost the chance to see what her team was truly capable of in a full season, but it also affected her ability to recruit.

The staff was able to do some recruiting online by watching highlight videos sent in by prospects, but Meeks said getting back on the road and attending summer practices and games will offer a better perspective of an athlete’s strengths and weaknesses.

“Nobody on video wants to show when they mess up. I miss seeing the mistakes people make and seeing how they handle those mistakes because to me that’s what makes you a great player is how you handle the adversity you’re faced with,” Meeks said. Avalon said that while it’s positive the campus is opening back up with the programs hosting summer games and camps, there are still some questions that need to be answered.

Because of the uncertainty regarding the future of COVID-19 Avalon and his staff are prepared to adapt to any challenges they come up against, especially when the athletes return to campus in the fall and a plan has to be formulated regarding preparation for the season.

“It’s going to be uncharted territory for us. We’ll just make adjustments as we go. The big thing is that the players be honest on where they are and then we can make changes as far as developing them for the spring season,” Avalon said.