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Like many senior pitchers around the country, Kyle Harrison
is looking for a place to throw this week.
The De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
left-hander, a UCLA commit who is projected a top three-round pick in June's MLB draft, attends online classes daily until 1:30 p.m., then gets his homework done before starting his regular workout regimen.
That includes running, lifting in the garage turned makeshift weight room and hitting at the family's batting cage.
After checking in with teammates via group chat, Harrison eventually makes his way to a local high school to throw a bullpen to his dad or whoever can catch him.
"(The school) locked down the field today so now I have to find another place to pitch," he said. "Something new every day."
This wasn't how it was supposed to go, of course. The Spartans opened No. 2 in the MaxPreps preseason national high school baseball rankings, moved to No. 1 after three straight wins, before a loss dropped them to No. 13.
That's likely where they will finish.
The coronavirus pandemic has postponed all of spring sports throughout the country and canceled it in at least eight states, including Indiana on Thursday. California state school Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced Tuesday that schools will not reopen this year, meaning distance education will continue and all but assuring no spring sports will restart.
"Just gotta find a positive mindset," Harrison said. "Some how."
Besides the heartache of missing out on their final seasons, and general adjustments to self-isolation and social-distancing regulations, seniors also have to consider new recruitment maneuvers.
On Monday, the NCAA Division-I Council voted in favor of a blanket waiver for all college spring-sport athletes to get an extra year of eligibility in light of seasons being significantly cut short due to COVID-19.
Colleges will be able to offer less or zero aid, or match what they provided this year, per their own discretion.
The NCAA did not mandate schools renew the scholarships of outgoing seniors, but made the legislation permissive, meaning schools have the option to give those college seniors the same scholarship they received this year or reduce the amount of aid or pull the scholarship entirely.
So where does that ruling leave current high school seniors who've signed their Letters of Intent?
It appears just more competition for playing time their freshman season. Not all college seniors will stay on next spring, however, some likely will.
, a pitcher at Refugio (Texas)
ranked the No. 4 senior recruit in the country by perfectgame.com, took the news in stride. He said he'd welcome the extra competition at the University of Texas, if he goes that way.
Then again, the hard-throwing right-hander who hits 99 mph is projected to go in the first round. In yet another turn, MLB is considering skipping the scheduled June 10 amateur draft or moving it to July
"Whoever works the hardest will win the spot," Kelley said.
Harrison said he's just trying to keep an open mind.
"First off, I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to continue my education and baseball career at a place like UCLA," he said. "At the end of the day, with a bigger roster and older senior players will create more competition and that can't be anything but good.
"When I went on my recruiting trip I loved all those seniors so if we get a chance to play together, that's great. I'll just have to get after it a little more."
Top softball recruits had similar viewpoints.
"I know first-hand what it is like to have your senior season taken away," she said. "If there is a chance that someone could play another year and have the senior year they've been dreaming of then I'd want them to have that chance."
Alabama softball signee
, a senior shortstop at St. Joseph-Ogden (St. Joseph, Ill.)
, had a similar empathetic view.
"In my eyes, it's not fair for anyone's season to be canceled," she said. "My season is suspended, which breaks my heart, so I understand what they are going through.
"Either way, everything happens for a reason. It just gives every incoming freshman even more of a reason to work hard and get better." Cloverdale (Calif.)
senior shortstop and pitcher Tehya Bird
has signed to Oregon and immediately checked the Ducks' roster, which has two seniors.
"I think that would be a great opportunity for them; I'm not worried about what will happen for me," she said. "I'm still going to compete the same."
Four-time NCAA champion Oklahoma shows two senior pitchers Giselle Juarez (28-4, 1.39 last season) and Shannon Saile (10-1, 1.42) on its 2020 roster.
With two true freshmen and a redshirt freshman who were slated to pitch for the 2020 Sooners, Foothill (Pleasanton, Calif.)
senior Nicole May
could be concerned.
May is considered one of the nation's top 2020 high school pitchers and she committed to the Sooners before her freshman season before singing her letter of intent in November. May was 24-0 with an 0.39 ERA as a junior.
"No matter what, as a freshman, I have to work super hard to earn time on the mound," she said. "No one is handed playing time at any position. … It's hard to know how things will look next season. We're all going through so many new things."
May's battery-mate, Courtney Beaudin
, a top West Coast recruit who signed her letter of intent to UCLA in November, said she's more than hopeful the Bruins can keep their end of the bargain. Beaudin hit .493 with seven homers and 39 RBI for Foothill, which started the season No. 2 in the MaxPreps national rankings.
"I don't think we can really know how (COVID-19) is going to totally affect all of us," Beaudin said. "I mean, right now softball is shut down everywhere. I think I need to keep my options open if things change drastically."
That's not a bad approach, according to the Next College Student Athlete, an organization connecting middle and high school student-athletes with college coaches. It offered some strong advice Tuesday during a conference call for players in all classes.
The organization's highlighted points for all high school athletes was this:
• Finish this school year strong, this year counts and is critical toward one's grade point average. Take the virtual class time seriously. For seniors, it's important to finish your academic career in a great spot. Juniors need to plan out their ACT/SAT with updated dates for those exams. Underclassmen need to focus on getting the work done.
• Hit the training hard. Though time is off for all sports, seniors should want to start their college career in the strongest possible position, so put in the work now. For juniors and underclassmen, this is a great time to get ahead with games likely to begin in six to 12 months.
For all, be creative — gyms aren't open — so find a hill, a set a stairs, do body-weight exercises. At-home workouts are available online, including at MaxPreps. SEE WORKOUTS
• Be proactive with coaches, especially seniors and juniors. Get on the phone. College coaches are focused on recruiting right now with an extended dead period. Without being able to get on campus, take virtual tours or Skype with coaches.
Seniors need to be proactive and lock down spots for next fall. Juniors need to be making contact. Underclassmen need to focus on doing their homework on researching schools and begin to reach out to those D3 and NAIA programs of note. Sophomores need to remember that D1 and D2 schools are open for communication in June.
Harrison, who was off to a 2-0 start with 18 strikeouts in nine innings this season, might have offered the best advice of all on recruiting, and the state of high school sports currently in general.
"I'm just taking everything day-by-day," Harrison said. "I think that's all we can really do."