MERIDIAN – Despite seeing their 2020 high school baseball season shutdown indefinitely, the Meridian Yellowjackets have something to feel good about as they wait out the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Led at the plate and on the mound by senior Matt Rosas, the Jackets posted a convincing 11-1 District 14-2A victory over the Hico Tigers in an early afternoon game March 13. After giving up a first-inning run, Meridian rallied for three in the third before run-ruling Hico with an eight-run fifth.
“We’re limited on pitching, and the victory was a positive thing for our kids,” Meridian baseball head coach Darrell Hogan said. “They’ve been working hard and are very young.”
Rosas, last season’s district defensive MVP, tossed a two-hit, complete game, striking out 10 and walking only one in five innings of work. At the plate, Rosas led the Jackets (1-1 in district, 1-3 overall) by going three-for-three with a double, scoring two runs and knocking in two more.
With the Jackets more than doubling their run-scoring total for the season in the game, junior Julian Monrreal collected two runs batted in, Alejandro Rodriguez scored three times, and junior catcher Dylan Poole reached base twice, scoring a run and knocking in another.
As both teams walked off the field, the University Interscholastic League announced the suspension of all Spring sports due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“This situation we’re dealing with is unprecedented in my coaching career, which goes back to 1991,” Hogan said. “It’s something new that we’re all dealing with. And you know, it makes you think about things in life that are really important and what matters most, which is God, family and team.
With only four returning starters coming off a 2-16 campaign in 2019, the Jackets opened this season with three straight losses as Itasca, Blum and Bruceville-Eddy combined to outscore Meridian, 61-5.
But by knocking off Hico (0-2, 1-3), the Jackets moved into a three-way tie for third place in district behind Valley Mills (2-0, 8-5-1) and Bosqueville (1-0, 8-1-1).
After experiencing the excitement of their first win in a key district contest, the Jackets heard the disappointing news of the shutdown.
Responding to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order mandating public schools remain temporarily closed through Monday, May 4 due to COVID-19 crisis, the UIL further modified its contingency plans last Friday, extending its previously announced timeline indefinitely for completing activities this academic school year.
As a result of the extension, the UIL will need to alter and rework a timeline for returning to competition built around school resuming May 4. As that date approaches, UIL plans to monitor all available information and provide member schools with more specific guidance on district and post-season date adjustments related to this new extension, as well as allowing a reasonable acclimatization period prior to resuming games.
“As human beings, we do have the ability to adjust and overcome to the situation that we are dealt with, and that’s exactly what we’re going to have to do in this recent dilemma,” Hogan said. “We need to trust in our leaders and believe they are doing what is best that is to keep us all safe.
“You know the bigger picture is that this impacts millions and millions of lives throughout the world. And what we really need to focus on is doing the right things to keep everyone healthy so that when this has passed, we can go right back to focusing where we need to be. We need lots of prayers.”
Photos by WENDY OROZCO
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