Pictured is Coach Tim Cothran and his seniors Isaac Cothran and Clay James
When news hit that the Arkansas Athletics Association was going to suspend the remainder of the spring sports season due to the ever-present COVID-19 epidemic, the state turned so quiet that you could almost hear a pin drop. Coaches and parents alike would now have to set their own feelings aside while trying to comfort their players and players would now have to come to terms with the fact that they would not be able to finish competing in the sport that they loved. The most impacted by this shutdown though were the high school seniors who instead of finishing their final season with a bang now have to try and make sense of everything while remaining quarantined in their homes.
The Mansfield Tigers will be hanging up baseball jerseys for two seniors this year. Isaac Cothran and Clay James have both been playing baseball for the Tigers since the ninth grade. James spent his time as an outfielder and a first baseman. He played in an overall total of 12 games earning him one hit, two stolen bases, three putouts, and one assist. Cothran played the majority of his time at third base while this season he also added first baseman to his resume. With a career total of 25 games played, he finishes with 12 hits, 10 runs, eight RBIs, four stolen bases, 85 putouts, and five assists. “It’s always tough to lose seniors,” expressed head coach, Tim Cothran. “It’s hard to lose the experience that these guys have.”
The Tigers competed in four games before the season got shutdown. They were sitting with an overall record of 1-3 with their lone 9-3 win coming from defeating Lincoln. Mansfield took a loss against Mena, Broken Bow, and De Queen. “We had 14 players on our roster this year. We felt good about our depth of talent and with being a young team we always had a number of guys stepping up.” With the shutdown not only affecting the spring sports season but it’s also proving troublesome for the fall sports season as well due to the fact that workouts and practices have had to come to a halt too.
“COVID has thrown us for a loop. All of our sports programs have been set back and affected. And at some point, this will begin to have a major impact on our upcoming fall sports. The old cliche “Keep your head up” seems to apply to what’s happening. What we are going through is unprecedented in our day. We will come through it though. It hurts not getting to do the things you love but in life, it has to be that way sometimes. This situation is very serious and as life will teach us there are things more important. We teach our athletes about sacrifice at every practice. This, unfortunately, just happens to be a very serious real-world application of what we teach them every day.”
“I think 2021 will be an exciting season. We will be playing in a new classification with what I feel will be a strong senior class. It will be exciting for us to see how well we can play and overcome the disappointment of this last season. I’m just looking forward to the season as a whole. There will also be new teams for us to play against. We will still play some of the local favorites but our conference will be brand new.”
Photos courtesy of Michele Ann Elmore and Joanna James