NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Baseball program adjusts to COVID-19 safety protocols

Ever since the Coronavirus struck the U.S. last March, the country has had to deal withmany changes in our everyday lives. From wearing masks at all times, to socially distancing in public, to not hanging out in big groups or meeting new people; it is safe to say that our world has been converted into something no one could ever imagine.

No one can be too sure when our society is going to return back to the way it was, but for now people need to be ready to adjust to certain things they might not like.

The guidelines that the baseball team needs to follow to stay safe have made their team practices “somewhat difficult, but understandable,” from the words of Captain Levi Burrill.

The players have to get their temperature taken every morning before practice, masks must never come off, covid testing is required every other week, and the players need to social distance from each other as often as possible.

Unlike their practices last year, the team doesn’t get many chances to practice as a whole. For the first few weeks they were practicing, it was individual work so that the players could stay in small groups and somewhat isolate from each other. In my interview with Burrill, he said, “We all understand why these rules are in place. People need to stay safe and healthy, and we’re lucky to get the chance to play everyday, because a lotof people can’t right now. It’s going to be easier for us when we can get back outside on thefield.”

These are just a few of the changes that the players needed to make going into the season.

The team practices are not the only thing that has changed drastically since last year.

Another big part in the offseason is when the baseball team gets together to lift as a team 4 timesa week.

Last year, there was not a time or person limit on the weight room that NECC has in thea thletic building. As long as you were a NECC student and signed in with your ID, you could go exercise for as long as you’d wish.

With Covid protocols this year, the team lifts that the baseball team usually participates in had to be severely altered. There were small groups that had assigned times during certain days of the week, and they only got that small window to work out in.

The final team lift competition was cancelled this year because of the virus which issomething that the players really look forward to every year.

Hunter Wilichoski, a sophomorecaptain on the team, said, “It’s unfortunate that our lifting competition got cancelled this year.We all work out with each other for months during the off season and the competition is when we finally get to settle who is the strongest. It’s a create team bonding experience right before our practices start, and we’re all sad we had to miss out on it this year.”

The NECC baseball program has had to go through some growing pains with dealing with the virus, but they are finding a way to make it work. They open up their season playing Rowan CC in New Jersey on March 13 and 14.