When the spring sports season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, sadness was a universal emotion shared by Jamestown baseball team seniors.
William Lieser said that when the season was first delayed, he had a little bit of hope it would somehow be salvaged.
"They had not canceled districts yet, so I hoped that we could get a few games in during May," Lieser said.
When the season was officially canceled, Leiser said that was a sad moment for him, but it was not that much of a surprise despite his hopes. Leiser is among many other high school athletes whose participation in a sport will end after high school. Having the season canceled has made Leiser feel like he did not get to give a proper send off to the sport he cares so much about.
"For me, this season was going to be my last time playing organized baseball because I'm not going on to play in college," Lieser said. "You come in to your senior season expecting to have a senior night, play in your last district tournament, and have what you know is your final at bat, but instead you have to look back at a game in the last season as your ending. It makes you feel as if you didn't get to say a proper goodbye to a sport you've worked hard at for so long and love so much."
If the season had happened as planned, Lieser said he felt his team had the potential to surprise people.
"We're a small school, but we are very talented up and down the lineup and are well-coached," Lieser said. "We were placed in a tough district with the reigning state champions in St. Elizabeth, but I believe we had the potential to be able to compete with them after playing a tougher schedule than you normally see in a small school."
There are plenty of memories from being on the team that will stay with Lieser for the rest of his life. He said he'll be able to cherish some of his team's successes in post-season tournaments for years to come.
"My best memory of my time is winning districts during my sophomore year. Another one of my favorite memories was following that year, in the conference tournament in the fall, we had back-to-back comeback and walk off wins to win the tournament," Lieser said. "Playing baseball the past four years has been such a fun experience with a great group of guys that I wouldn't trade for anything and is something I'll remember for the rest of my life."
Lieser's teammate, Clark Rohrbach, said that when the season was first delayed, he didn't think much of it. Rohrbach said he speculated the coronavirus wasn't as severe as people thought, and things would be back to normal quickly.
"I just assumed that the season and school (cancellations) would be lifted before districts started. I thought this virus was a joke and was sad to see the season being delayed after just a few cases," Rohrbach said.
When things escalated and the season was canceled, Rohrbach said he was devastated as he had played baseball since he was in kindergarten. On top of that, it was also hard because he missed most of his junior season due to injury.
"I put in all this work and time, and when it is time to show all of the progress I made, it is cut short. For me, it was cut short a year ago when I had shoulder surgery, and missed most of my junior season," Rohrbach said.
Some of Rohrbach's favorite memories were winning a district title and hitting one of four consecutive home runs to break the state record in 2017.
Rohrbach said his time with the team was amazing, even if it has to come to a close.
"Of course, I wish my time on the team would never end like any kid," Rohrbach said. "But it has been amazing to have played on this team. We not only played baseball, but we made memories together that not even a virus can take away."
Dalton Oerly said he was similarly disappointed when the season was delayed, but he'd hoped the season would resume like Rohrbach. Oerly said he knew that probably wouldn't be the case from the start, though.
"I was extremely disappointed when the season was delayed," Oerly said "Because while I still hoped the season would be resumed, I knew we probably weren't going to play the season and it would be canceled."
After all the hard work, Oerly and his teammates put in heading into this season, he said he was even more disappointed once the season was completely canceled.
"I felt we deserved a chance to show how we improved, but that could not happen," Oerly said.
Oerly said he enjoyed every part of playing alongside his teammates, and some of his favorite moments were winning the conference tournament during his sophomore and juniors years. He also enjoyed winning the district tournament in his sophomore year. Besides enjoying his time on the team, Oerly said his skills progressed during his time at high school.
For that reason, Oerly said, he can look back and know that he had an experience to be proud of.
"I'm proud of the time I spent on the team," Oerly said. "I progressed in my skills all four years on the team and I enjoyed everything about the sport so while our season was cut short, I still enjoyed everything that came of it."