Coronavirus grounds baseball’s Florida plans

Aidan Welsh ’22 in practice, March 6, 2019 – photo by Tyler Zimmer ’21

The COVID-19 outbreak has extended to Haverford’s athletic community. Just last week, Fords baseball canceled its annual Spring Break trip to Florida.

     The cancellation  did not come as a shock to many of the team’s players. 

     “I wasn’t surprised when I got word that the Florida trip was canceled,” four-year starter Patrick Toal ’20 said. “Everyone kind of saw it coming.”

     Fifth Former Grayson Walker had a similar response.

     “The news wasn’t that surprising considering the recent coronavirus cases in the country,” Walker said. “Still, I was really sad because the trip was one of the highlights of the season last year. It has always been a really great bonding experience.”

     The news was especially difficult for members of the Class of 2020. 

     “It was really sad officially hearing the news because it’s my last year,” Toal said. “This trip is something we as a team look forward to all year.”

Michael Tallarida ’21 ready for the ball at first base at practice, March 6, 2020 – photo by Tyler Zimmer ’21

     Despite the cancellation, the Fords remain optimistic heading into the season. 

     “The team dynamic is really close, and the upperclassmen leadership is very strong,” Third Former Isaiah Shuchman said. “We, as a team, take things upon ourselves to run certain aspects of practices while managing to have a good time.”

          Though last year’s team graduated many of its stronger players and influential leaders in the Class of 2019, many upperclassmen have stepped up into a larger role on the team.

 “I think this is a really close-knit group. The seniors are doing a really great job leading by example.”

Grayson Walker ’21

     “I think this is a really close-knit group. The seniors are doing a really great job leading by example,” Walker said. “I’m really looking forward to this season.”

     “Being an upperclassman starter last season, I just tried to lead by example,” Toal said. “This year, I think it’s a mixture of leading by example and being more of a vocal presence during practices and games.”

Pat Toal ’20 pitches the ball during practice – Tyler Zimmer ’21

     Shuchman, along with all of the team’s younger players, looks forward to playing with the older players.

     “I’m really excited to play with my classmates, improve my skills, and compete at a high level,” Shuchman said. “But I’m especially excited to play and get closer with the upperclassmen on the team.”

Author: Ryan LaRocca '20

Ryan LaRocca is an editor-in-chief of the newspaper, previously serving as the editor of the sports section. Last year, his article "J.R. Leitz emerges as leader in the pool" received third place recognition for sports articles in the Philadelphia-area Scholastic Writing Awards. This year, his piece "Swimming & diving look to spring back" earned a Gold Key and his feature "Rise of the Jewish Student Union" earned a Silver Key. Outside of The Index, Ryan acts as the captain for the water polo team and the vice president of the Entrepreneurship Club. In the classroom, his favorite subject is history.