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Oregon School Activities Association suspends competition and practices through at least March 31

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Area teams cancelled spring break plans in the wake of the OSAAs suspension of the prep spring sports season.

The high school spring sports season is on hold, at least for now.

In a release sent out today (March 13) by the Oregon School Activities Association, the OSAA has suspended interscholastic practices and contests for sports and activities for all member schools effective today through March 31.

"During this suspension we will evaluate this evolving public health situation with the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Department of Education, the OSAA Executive Board, the OSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and member school administrators from throughout the state to determine when, or if, to resume the spring season," the OSAA said in a press release Friday.

OSAA sanctioned spring season sports include baseball, softball, boys track and field, girls track and field, girls tennis, boys tennis, boys golf and girls golf.

"Any assembling together has been suspended, so its up to the players to use this time to maintain some sort of fitness on their own," Centennial softball coach Steve Baker said. "We just started getting our athletes in from winter sports, and we were ready to go, but now we have to start all over again."

Unable to gather together, left Baker making phone calls Friday morning trying to get $2,000 refunded for the team's cancelled beach retreat.

Baker has been coaching more than 30 years at Centennial and can remember only a few relatable instances. One coming in the early 1980s when teams were not allowed use of the school facilities under the cloud of a potential district strike, and the other coming his senior year at Marshall High when school ended in May due to a budget shortfall.

The Centennial High baseball team saw the cancellation of a spring break trip to Arizona after raising $23,000 with various events dating back to before the start of school.

"We don't make a trip like that very often. Yesterday, I had to break the hearts of our seniors," Centennial baseball coach Eric Fogle said.

Next on Fogle's plate, was the challenge of getting money refunded for cancelled airline tickets and hotel rooms.

"Initially there was resistence to that, but one of the positives to come from the government officially laying down travel bans, is that the airlines and hotels have been more receptive to giving back that money," Fogle said.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - David Douglas Jermaine Robinson drops his bat while watching a foul tip head into the fence. The OSAA has put the prep spring sports season on hold until at least April 1.

During the team's last official pracitce on Wednesday, Fogle asked for a show of hands for any player who was experiencing flu-like symptoms. More than half of the team was sent home.

"We had four varsity players left that day," Fogle said.

With no practices sessions allowed at least through March, baseball coaches are dealing with how to reset their season – especially tricky when it comes to the specialization of pitchers in baseball.

"We've been getting arms ready since January to be able to throw 100 pitches. Hitting and fielding, you can pick that right up, but the real problem is going to come with pitching," Fogle said. "The message I had for the kids was that this setback is hard, but this will pass and when it does you need to be ready."

The OSAA released pre-season coaches polls last week with three Mount Hood Conference teams among the top-10 in baseball with No. 2 Central Catholic, No. 3 Clackamas and No. 6 Barlow. In the big-school softball poll, Barlow came in at No. 8 and Clackamas was tied for No. 10.

This story is scheduled for our Tuesday, March 17, print edition.

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