The world sees them as a team, but they see themselves as a family.
With COVID-19 the Storm baseball and softball teams are focused on being a family now more than ever.
Reserving space for practice results in early mornings and late nights. Softball practice starts at 5:30 a.m. and baseball begins at 8 p.m. Players say these times are rough but eventually become easy to adapt to.
“We’ve chosen to go later at night because there are a number of teams that use that facility,” said Head baseball coach Nathan Roling. “We don’t have to interfere with any of the other sports, and with a roster size as big as we are, we want them to have the ability to space out.”
While the pandemic made it impossible for first-year students to get the full college experience, the athletes know how to adapt in these difficult times. Freshman third baser Lucas Juhl understands those times are best since there is a lot to adjust to.
“Late night practice makes it convenient for everyone,” Juhl said. “We make it all work.”
As COVID-19 continues to affect everyone, athletes stay safe with several safety protocols in play.
“Fifty percent of our team is being tested every single week,” said Senior outfielder Brynna Bowman. “We had to be tested when we got back on campus. Practices look as normal as they could during COVID-19, and masks are worn the entire time. We are broken up into smaller groups, so we are able to do drills. Once you get into a routine, it gets easier.”
Randomly testing athletes allows for safer meetings in hopes of reducing the spread of COVID-19. Freshman pitcher Rylee Purvis commits to doing whatever testing necessary to keep the team together.
“I really don’t enjoy the testing itself,” Purvis said. “If I had to go get a shot or had to go get tested every other week, I would because it’s the closest thing we have to normal right now. Everyone is so positive and helps me not dwell on the bad moments. I think we are doing a pretty good job adapting to everything.”
While COVID-19 remains unpredictable one thing remains certain: Storm sports teams are family. Daily practices and meets strengthen the bond between players. The world may see them as a team, but they themselves as a family.
Even with the previous season being short, Senior outfielder Alec Hensley values the family aspect of being part of a team.
“I want to stay optimistic,” Hensley said. “We’ve lost a lot of games and learned a lot through that. Last year we felt was a time we could start to turn the corner and get better as a team. I think this a year where we can really grow and come together.”
The baseball team will have their first game on Feb. 27 against Illinois college. The first softball game will be on Feb. 20 at Rochester Dome in Minnesota.