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UCCS baseball & softball face the unknown after canceled seasons

UCCS baseball & softball face the unknown after canceled seasons
Posted at 10:39 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 21:25:18-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — If you show up to Mountain Lion Park, the home of the UCCS baseball team, you will notice a lock on the gate.

The reason?

Just like everything else in the sports world. the RMAC conference canceling spring sports due to COVID 19 ending the season for the UCCS baseball and softball teams.

"I was kinda like guys I got some bad news, well guess what I got more bad news, okay I got more bad news and it just got worse," said UCCS baseball head coach Dave Hajek.

"To watch any players end their careers is emotionally trying for someone who is working with them day to day," explained UCCS softball head coach Ricki Rothbauer-Stubbs. "And to watch it happen unexpectedly was really hard to do."

And for Mountain Lion senior second baseman Matt Clarke, who will not use the NCAA exemption for an extra year of eligibility, is still processing that he has played his final game of his baseball career.

"I think it really puts things into prospective," said Clarke. "Any sports, especially baseball, you are always told growing up that there is gonna come a day that someone is going to tell you you can't play anymore. Normally people associate that with injuries, or not moving on from high school to college, or not get drafted, and this is completely different."

The change will also affect coaches - as next year, they will not only have some seniors return, but a brand new recruiting class looking to make their mark. Something that both Hajek and Rothbauer-Stubbs are not prepared for.

"To be perfectly honest I am really not ready to jump to next season," said Rothbauer-Stubbs.

"I do not know how we will deal with it," added Hajek. "But for me, the way I have dealt with things in this short history of this program is to just be straight with your student athletes. Let me them know where they stand and what the situation is."

As for Clarke, he will now prepare for graduation and to enter the work force.

But is message for his fellow senior is simple.

"I think they will appreciate being out here next season. I think all the guys are seeing how quickly it can be taken away."