ROCKLIN, Calif. (KTXL) — Slowly, high schools in Northern California are allowing student-athletes back on the field for distance workouts.
Most of it has been football-related, so some were surprised when Whitney High School in Rocklin announced they would start baseball practice this week.
Typically, the high school baseball season would have just ended and players would be in the middle of summer ball. But with the spring season canceled and everything shut down the last several months, getting back to the diamond is just what the doctor ordered.
“Baseball is kind of naturally social-distanced. There’s not really any physical contact that needs to happen at all. So, we’re able to work within those guidelines and be out here practicing,” Whitney baseball coach Jackson Watt said.
Placer County entered phase 3 of reopening on Thursday and the Whitney Wildcats made the decision to welcome back about 80 ballplayers to their facility.
Practices look and feel just about normal with the use of bats, baseballs and gloves.
“A lot of sports like basketball, football, they really can’t play their actual sports,” Whitney senior Chris Wagner said. “We can actually hit, field and throw, stuff like that. So, it’s pretty nice.”
“There’s a lot of smiley faces, a lot of kids who are happy to be back out here with us and that’s really what it’s all about for me,” Watt said.
Baseballs are sanitized after each use and no two players can play catch. Whitney is believed to be the first high school to return to baseball practice under the state’s guidelines.
“It’s definitely weird but I’ll get used to it. I’m just glad we can be out here playing baseball,” Wagner said.
Whitney, of course, is hopeful to return to games and complete its fall-ball program starting in September. If not, it’s more drills and workouts like there are currently, and then the regular season doesn’t get going until January.