OZARK, Mo. — The crack of a wooden bat hitting a ball will be heard again Monday as the Show-Me Collegiate League will open up play in Ozark.
It’s one of, if not the only, collegiate summer league that will compete this summer.
Nearly all college baseball players haven’t played in a game since March.
“We played a mid-week against Missouri Southern the week everything went down on a Tuesday,” Springfield Cobras/Drury infielder Brock Schaffitzel said.
“Besides not playing in the winter this is the longest I have gone without playing,” Springfield Cobras/Avila infielder Trace Clinkenbeard said.
With the trials of finding a way to waste the days.
“I’ve been playing video games, hanging out with my family. Stuff we haven’t been able to do since everyone has been away,” Schaffitzel said.
But that time off is about to be a thing of the past for those travelling to Ozark for the Show-Me Collegiate League. Even players as far away as Maine, coming to town to play baseball. All to get off the bench and back onto the diamond.
“At the start of April when everything was really bad across the country, the Cape League shut down, leagues across the country shut down, I was kind of worried. But we got the email from Aaron Meyer, it was good to see we would actually be playing,” Schaffitzel said.
The S-M-C-L is entering it’s fifth season of baseball. It’s a wood-bat league that fields seven teams and provides players with a summer of competition.
“Here it’s a lot of just getting your work in. For some that didn’t get to play in their spring season, it’s a chance to get some At-bats, some ground balls, just a chance to get better for school next year,” Clinkenbeard said.
Most years it acts as a bridge between seasons. But in 2020, it IS the season.
“When we start playing again, seeing live pitches, it’ll be hard to adjust to after not seeing anyone through a baseball at you for two or three months,” Clinkenbeard said.
“I don’t think anyone that plays college baseball has taken three months off at a time. It’ll be weird, but it’ll be good to get back,” Schaffitzel said.
It might take a bit to knock off some of that rust, but the chance to hit the field and see that first fastball has them all ready for June.
“I don’t know, we’ll see how the pitcher is throwing to a few guys. I guess we will see,” Schaffitzel said.
“I’m just hoping I don’t trip and fall or something. Hopefully I hit one off the scoreboard, but maybe, hopefully, it’s just don’t strike out. Let’s touch the ball, that’s the first goal,” Clinkenbeard said.
The Cobras play in the first SMCL game of the season on Monday against the Ozark Wild. First pitch is scheduled for 7pm.