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The Wildcats, No. 6 in the Class 5A preseason poll, return seven starters from last year

COURTESY PHOTO: GREG ARTMAN - Wilsonville baseball coach Bryn Card points at home plate before a game last year.

Wilsonville baseball coach Bryn Card was really looking forward to this season.

The Wildcats, ranked No. 6 in the Class 5A coaches preseason poll, return seven starters from last year's playoff team.

But like baseball programs all over the country, Wilsonville's season is in danger of being canceled.

Oregon schools and spring sports have been suspended through April 28.

"I really hope we get to play so we can show off what we have this year," said Card, quarantined in his Wilsonville home with his wife and two young children, ages 3 and 6. "We just keep hope that we do get a season, so that we can make some memories and we can have a little bit of normalcy in our lives."

Wilsonville returns seniors Cole Kleckner, Jarrod Seibel, Braden Woodworth, Keegan Shivers and Andrew Classen, as well as juniors Shane Tacla, Dalton Wright and Jack Kimball, and sophomores Cole Hubka and Max Bledy.

"My lineup was going to be a full nine deep, which is always really hard to pitch to," Card said.

The Wildcats also have nine players that can throw two or three different pitches for strikes.

"That's the hardest part, if we don't get to play this year, this is going to be the team that got away," Card said. "It's one of those groups that's put a lot of time in. They are really dedicated and all of them are great students. They're great kids and they're hard working. It was going to be a great year and I'm really hoping that we get to have it."

Card feels the worst for the seniors who are relying on this season to land with a college program.

The NCAA has also granted an extra year of eligibility for all senior athletes competing in spring sports.

"College baseball is just going to be a log jam," Card said. "You feel bad for both ends of the spectrum. The top end (college) getting only four weeks of baseball is terrible and the freshmen coming in, there may not even be roster spots for them."

The OSAA executive board is scheduled to meet again April 1 and 15 to further discuss the spring season.

"I know (Executive Director) Pete (Weber) very well," Card said. "He's such a great guy. He's going to do the best he can to make it right and do right by kids. I've never questioned that. It's just what can he do is going to be the real question. If they continue to extend this (quarantine), his hands may be tied."

Card just hopes the OSAA will explore all options.

"This is a time when all of us are having to be flexible, I hope they are going to stay flexible as well," Card said. This is not a time to draw hard lines and say we can't do this because there's no event location or staff. I just hope in a time of flexibility, they will also stay flexible."

Coaches are not able to work directly with students during the suspension period. Coaches can communicate with students in accordance with local school district policy, but cannot organize or participate in workouts.

There shall be no high school facility usage by athletic staff and teams.

While the OSAA encourages students to stay active, groups of students are discouraged from getting together in alignment with local and federal social distancing guidelines.

Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order on March 23, requiring all Oregonians to stay home except for essential needs. People can exercise outside, but only if they remain 6 feet apart.

"It's a really tough situation because you have absolutely no control," Card said. "The beauty of sports is that you really emphasize to the kids that you do your best with what you can control, and unfortunately this is one of those situations where we literally have no control over any of this. It feels like we don't even have control over our own lives right now."

Wilsonville was supposed to open the season March 17 at West Albany. The 5A playoffs are scheduled to begin May 27, and the state finals on June 6.

"I was super excited about the year, and now I'm just hoping we get a game in," Card said. "Baseball is such a small scope in what we're dealing with, but sometimes people just want that normalcy, and I think sports is what people look to, and right now we don't have sports."

Derek Wiley
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