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Lisbon State Baseball Sequel Stopped By Virus But....

Updated: Apr 28

BY DAVE SHEA

The Lisbon Central Baseball team authored one of the top feel good stories in last Spring's New York State Public School Athletic Association Championships.

After their school did not field a baseball team for two years, the Golden Knights with a host of first year varsity players came of age to win the Section 10 Class D title and then became the first team in school history in any sport to reach the New York State Final Four.

There will be no sequel for the Golden Knights this spring as the the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced the cancellation of the 2020 spring state championship events on Monday. The impacted events are boys and girls track and field, boys tennis, softball, baseball, golf and both boys and girls lacrosse state championships scheduled to be held between June 4th – 13th.

“Unfortunately, with the continued impact of the COVID-19 crisis, hosting the spring 2020 state championships is no longer feasible (time factor, facility and venue availability, etc.)” said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA’s President.

“Canceling the remaining winter state championships in late March was challenging and the cancelation of our spring state championships today is equally disappointing.”

The NYSPHSAA will continue to rely upon information from the New York State Department of Health, local health departments as well as the Governor’s office for information and guidance on COVID-19 and its impact upon the spring regular season. As of today, the spring regular season remains on hold for nine of the 11 Sections; Section VIII and XI (Long Island) officially canceled all spring events on April 21st. Individual Sections have the authority to decide whether to hold regular season contests.

For student-athletes to return to athletic participation this spring, schools need to be reopened by the Governor of New York State. The date students can return to school will play a significant role in the possibility of a spring sports regular season. In New York State schools will remain closed until May 15.

The Lisbon baseball team approached the current spring season with a unique makeup. They returned all of last year's players except one, added some talent from last year's modified team and did not have a senior.

Coach Dave Gravlin, like coaches from all over the country, shared the disappointment of his players and spring athletes from all over the area and the country. Especially the senior student-athletes.

"It is very unfortunate and disappointing that we are in this situation. This virus has flipped our lives upside down for sure. In terms of baseball, and for all of the athletes across the country. I'm just devastated. There are so many athletes that really cherish their time on the field or track," he said.

"We are fortunate to not have any seniors on our baseball team but, I feel for all of the seniors who are missing out on their last year of spring sports. For us, we had the majority of our team back from last year. We had a goal to get back to the state playoffs this season. With the state championships being cancelled, the 2020 squad will never have the opportunity to reach their goal."

But Gravlin and his team are holding on to the hope that there could be a regular season in Section 10 in some form if the state deems it is safe to re-open schools.

"We are all holding out hope that we will get to play some games this year. At this point we just want to make sure everyone stays safe and we'll get back on the field whenever we can," said Coach Gravlin.

Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director said, “Today’s decision is difficult for the membership of NYSPHSAA. We certainly sympathize with the students, coaches and their school communities, especially the graduating seniors.”

“As a former participant in a state championship in Texas growing up, I still remember my splits from the 2-mile that I ran in outdoor track and field, so I realize the impact this has upon students, and that’s the most disappointing thing for me as the executive director, as a former athlete and as a father" said Zayas in a conference call on Monday.

In the conference call Zayas said that a statewide committee would be formed later this spring to deal with fall sports issues which could arise as COVID-19 pandemic plays out.


Issac LaRock and the Golden Knights hope their can be some form of a regular season (Cassie LaRock Photo)

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