Chan Brown has won five state titles in his 18 seasons as Parkview’s baseball coach, so he knows better than most how abruptly a promising season can end, or rally and carry on.
But he’s never experienced anything like his team’s latest loss – the sudden shutdown of Georgia high school baseball in mid-season because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Parkview (13-2) was going about its business Thursday with a home game against 10th-ranked Grayson. Brown then got word that Gwinnett County was closing its schools and that the GHSA was recommending no sports for two weeks.
Parkview went on to win 4-1 in what might be the final game of the high school careers for eight seniors. Brown thought mostly of them and adjusted as best he could.
‘’We did a makeshift senior night after that game,’’ Brown said. “So I am glad we got that in. ... At this point, we are all in uncharted territory.’’
What was hoped to be a two-week shutdown is growing more bleak. Major league baseball is already looking at a start after Memorial Day, so spring high school sports can only expect the worst.
‘’It is absolutely heartbreaking for the seniors in particular who may have played their last high school baseball game,’’ Glynn Academy coach Trent Mongero posted Sunday on Twitter. ‘’We pray not.’’
Brown’s team had as much at stake as any. Parkview is ranked No. 1 again in AAAAAAA and No. 17 nationally by MaxPreps. The Panthers were scheduled to travel to the National High School Baseball Invitational in Cary, N.C., on April 1-4, but that’s been canceled. North Gwinnett, ranked No. 2 in AAAAAAA, also was slated to play in Cary.
Brown has trailed in the bottom of the final inning before. He isn’t giving up hope on this one.
‘’Our message to the players: Please try and continue to work on baseball as much as possible as long as you are healthy,’’ Brown said. “But we also told them that none of this work can be at Parkview. We are all in the hopes that we get a chance to play again. Hoping that we take a couple of weeks and then we get a chance to practice. Hopefully we can get a chance to have the playoffs and gives these kids a chance to win a state championship.’’
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