Jamestown's American Legion baseball coach Sam Joseph knows his players have remained focused while under COVID-19 quarantine from school and sports.
Joseph says regular text messaging is keeping Post 14 focused for the tentatively planned summer season, and possibly out of a little mischief as well.
"I know the kids have been trying to get on the green space area and it's been closed down," said Joseph, referring to the area of Jamestown Public School property that runs parallel to Third Avenue Southeast to the south of Jamestown Middle School. "I had to send a text message to them ... 'Hey guys, you gotta stay off the green space right now. I love the fact you want to get outside and get going and keep your arms in shape, but you have to find somewhere else to go and make sure you're safe and doing what you're supposed to be doing.'"
North Dakota American Legion baseball is coming off a strange week. News broke late last Thursday that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, state Legion officials had canceled the entire upcoming season along with North Dakota Boys State and the Legion's annual convention, but later reversed course on baseball.
Forum News Service reported Saturday that canceling the baseball season is on hold and the state Legion's Department Executive Committee will revisit the situation at its next meeting on April 20.
“When the executive committee made its decision (to cancel the season), it was done without any consultation with our athletic committee chairman (Russ Krochus),’’ said Grand Forks Post 6 commander Bob Greene in an interview with The Grand Forks Herald.
Greene is the Class A commissioner on the state Legion athletic committee.
“Once word of (the cancellation) got out, Russ asked why it happened and if it could be re-addressed," Green said. “This season could be over. We could be back to having a partial or full season. We’re cautiously optimistic.’’
Joseph said he was blindsided by the initial news. The North Dakota high school baseball season has yet to be officially ruled out.
The North Dakota High School Activities Association has placed all spring sports and activities in an indefinite suspension.
"I actually received a text from one of my coaches asking me what's going on with the Legion season, and I had no idea what he was talking about," Joseph said. "It was surprising because they pulled the trigger so early, but with everything going on right now I could understand. Obviously, this is bigger than baseball and we want to make sure everyone is healthy and safe."
Joseph said he's thankful the Legion baseball season, which is tentatively set to begin the first week of June for Jamestown, will continue to be monitored. The coach directed Post 14 to a Class A West Division regular-season crown last summer in his first year at the helm, finishing the season at 15-12 overall and 12-2 in the division.
Seniors scheduled to play this summer for Post 14 include Max Anderson, Kohl Kratz, Chris Erickson, Tommy Falk and Isaac Mimong.
"They're trying to stay as baseball ready as possible with the limited resources they have right now," Joseph said. "It's their senior year and they've worked their butts off all offseason ... it kinda just breaks my heart for them.
"I know they've been itching to play."