Tim Tawa saw the writing on the wall.
Tawa, a 2017 West Linn graduate who's now a junior on the Stanford University baseball team, was at practice on March 11 when he first suspected something was wrong.
Taking batting practice late that night with a few of his teammates, Tawa, 20, heard that the National Basketball Association had just suspended its season and his mind immediately raced to the worst-case scenario.
"That was when I had a feeling that our season was in jeopardy," he said.
The next day, Tawa's worst fears were confirmed — Stanford suspended all spring sports and remaining winter sports on March 12, and subsequently announced that all spring sports had been canceled.
"The way I actually found out was through the wall of my bedroom the morning the news was given out," Tawa said. "One of my roommates woke me up by saying it fairly loudly in our living room area to another one of my roommates. It was not a fun way to wake up."
The cancelation of spring sports across the country put an end to Tawa's junior year just 16 games into the Cardinal's 54-game schedule. After earning freshman All-American honors in 2018 and Pac-12 Honorable Mention honors in 2019, the loss of the 2020 season was understandably tough for Tawa to take.
"I still don't think the cancelation has fully sunk in yet, even weeks after it happened," Tawa said. "Obviously, I wish I was at school playing baseball with my teammates and going about life regularly, but that isn't possible. It's out of my control."
School: Stanford University
Year in School: Junior
Major: Communications with a minor in political science
Team: Stanford baseball
High School: West Linn, Class of 2017
During his high school career at West Linn, there wasn't much that Tawa didn't accomplish. As a senior, he led the Lions to a Three Rivers League championship, four straight playoff wins, and eventually, a runner-up finish in the Class 6A state playoffs.
At the end of that year, he was named Oregon's Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year, the Three Rivers League Player of the Year and first-team all-state. In addition, Tawa was also named the West Linn Tidings 2017 Athlete of the Year.
He's kept up that incredible pace at college, too. As a freshman at Stanford, Tawa started all 58 games, batting .296 with 18 doubles, three triples and seven homers, along with 44 runs scored, 41 RBIs and seven steals. As a sophomore, he started 58 games again and batted .253 with 10 doubles and eight homers, along with 35 runs scored, 37 RBIs and six steals.
The Cardinal was ready for more this year, too, picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 race by Baseball America despite returning just nine lettermen. In his shortened 2020 season, Tawa started 13 of 16 games and was hitting .213 with two doubles and one homer, along with seven runs scored, six RBIs and three steals.
With all that as pretext, it's understandable that Tawa was disappointed to lose the rest of his junior season.
"I wish I was playing. I wish life was normal more than anything," Tawa said. "(But) it's hard because this virus has impacted so many people in a more serious way than canceling a baseball season."
Indeed, Tawa understands the importance of the current lockdown of the country.
"While I want to be upset and angry and (I have) so many other emotions … safety is a priority and staying healthy during this pandemic is the top priority," he said.
So, for the time being, Tawa is continuing to do what he's always done — he's working, planning, grinding and looking ahead to what's next. Right now, he's preparing for a return to class next week (online only), reading, working to master Spanish, spending quality time with his family, working out as best he can and considering his future at Stanford.
"I am trying to be as productive as possible during the lockdown," he said. "Plans for next year are uncertain for now. At the moment, I am focused on staying healthy, staying in shape and enjoying time with my family.
"I also want to take the time … to say 'Thank you' to all of the brave people working tirelessly to fight this virus and pandemic. That hard work isn't going unnoticed and I know I can speak for myself, my family, and many more in saying we are grateful and extremely appreciative for their efforts and time."
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