BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Bridgeport High School’s baseball field is silent.
The grass needs cut. And for two weeks there hasn’t been a reason to rake the infield dirt or batter’s circle.
The Indians quest for an unprecedented seventh straight Double-A baseball championship is on hold, along with the rest of the spring sports calendar, due to COVID-19.
“We were over at Frank Loria (Field) and did a defensive practice, and we had some boys missing, along with those basketball players. And we looked like we were in mid-season form, defensively on all the drills we were doing. And I think that will pick up. I’m sure those guys, anywhere, are itching and chomping at the bit to get back out there,” Bridgeport manager Robert Shields said earlier this week.
Shields and his team captured their sixth straight title last year, defeating Frankfort in the state title game. During the current down time that Shields now finds himself with, he’s looking back on those games.
“I actually have watched last year’s semi-final versus Shady Spring. And I looked at a lot of notes that I had. So I’m trying to combine all that and put it on paper, whether it be working on different approaches to hitting, or things like that. I’ve been doing some stuff like that at home,” he said.
Shields not only misses baseball, but he misses teaching. He teaches Physical Education and Drivers Ed. “It’s fun,” he says with a smile.
But he and his team on the field are potentially missing out on making more history this year, and he feels like he’s got the team to do it.
“We had five basketball players that were still playing basketball that we still hadn’t seen yet. But overall, I like the whole group. There were a lot of boys that worked hard in the winter months. Got bigger and stronger and faster. Kids grew from the sophomores that are juniors, and the juniors that are seniors that have put on some pounds and muscle. So I was really excited about this group,” he said.
For now, we wait and see when — or if — the season will be played, and if the Indians can finish their run of Double-A dominance with another title this season before jumping up to Triple-A next year.
Prior to last season, six-straight titles on the diamond had never been done in the Mountain State. The Indians did it.
And now that seventh consecutive ring isn’t in design yet with the season yet to begin.