OZARK, Mo. — The Show me Collegiate League started the summer as one of the only college leagues in the country.
“Our season started off really slow, then we started getting hot and it started getting really fun,” Landen Wood of the Springfield Cobras said. “It’s crazy how close a bond you can make in just five to six weeks.”
But it won’t end with a championship.
“Other events in the park will go on, but the league has shut down as of noon today,” US baseball General Manager Mark Stratton said.
The SMCL announced on Tuesday that a player on the Route 66 Stars tested positive for COVID-19.
On Wednesday, another test result came back positive from a member of the Nationals team.
With only 8 gamedays left until the playoffs. The season was canceled.
“We made the call, I think it was the right call,” Stratton said. “No one wants to not play, but it’s more important to keep the health of people in mind. That’s what we did.”
“When I first heard the news this morning, I had my stuff on and had stuff in the car and ready to go for a noon game,” Wood said. “Then our Coach just texted us and said we aren’t playing today. I just figured the league was on pause. We found out on Twitter and our group chat started to blow up.”
But it was far from a lost summer.
“My first thing that went to my head was, at least we got six weeks in,” Wood said. “A lot of good came out of this summer for everyone, everybody got to play. A lot of guys got to develop and get ready to play this fall and next spring.”
“All five power-5 conferences are represented in the league, I think they are going to find out that was a great experience down there,” Stratton said. “The level of play has been really off the charts for a college league.”
Some of those college players, especially current and future Bears, Panthers, Crusaders and Bearcats got to play alongside their college teammates.
For Wood, he got reps in before he heads to Missouri State this fall.
“You know, going into Junior College, you don’t really know anybody,” Wood said. “I’ve already met 10 to 15 guys that I am going to be going to school with, so that helps a lot too.
Following the expansion of teams this summer, the league is hopeful to duplicate that success next summer.
“I think kids are going to go back to their schools and say that was a great experience,” Stratton said. “The league is great and we will be back in 2021 bigger and better.”