190522-spt-sb-nyssasu-1 (copy)

South Umpqua’s Shalyn Gray, center, celebrates her three-run homer with teammates during a Class 3A playoff game with Nyssa in Tri City in 2019. Gray is among this year’s seniors who have had their spring seasons canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shortly after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday ordered the closure of schools for the remainder of the 2020 school year, the Oregon School Activities Association followed suit, cancelling the 2020 spring sports and activities schedule.

Following an emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon, the OSAA called off all spring sports and activities: baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and golf.

“Today’s heart wrenching decision is difficult for all members of the OSAA family,” said Peter Weber, the OSAA Executive Director. “We empathize with students and school communities, especially our graduating seniors, but recognize that these cancellations will allow our collective focus to remain where it’s most needed at this time — on the health and safety of all Oregonians.”

“We had maintained hope for an abbreviated spring season to help bring a sense of normalcy to these uncertain times,” Weber continued. “Now more than ever we need to apply the lessons learned through participation in education-based activities — teamwork, sacrifice, and resilience — and play our role in adhering to the public health guidelines. We all look forward to the day we will play again.”

It is believed to be the first time a high school sports season has been canceled since the OSAA’s inception in 1947.

“We’ve had state championship baseball or softball games get rained out, but I don’t recall any type of an entire season being wiped out,” Weber said. “As of yesterday, we are the 16th state to shut down, but there’s going to be more coming.”

With the mandate from Brown, all public school facilities will remain closed. Per OSAA standards, the closure extends the “no contact” order for coaches to hold organized workouts with their athletes.

Some Douglas County administrators, coaches and players reacted to the decision.

“It was gut wrenching,” Roseburg Athletic Director Russ Bolin said. “I expected that decision to come down, but to hear those final words was hard.

“I really feel for our seniors, all the hard work they’ve put in. They won’t get to compete and finish out their senior year. And I feel for our coaches, too.”

Dave Blevins never got his first season as Roseburg’s head softball coach off the ground.

“I expected this decision,” Blevins said. “It’s a bummer, it just sucks. We had a good thing going. I feel bad for Ericka Allen (the team’s lone senior). She’s been with me (softball-wise) since she was 7 years old, and that hit me really hard.”

Shalyn Gray, a senior at South Umpqua and an all-state shortstop for the softball team, was disappointed with the news.

“I’m pretty heartbroken,” Gray said. “I was trying to be hopeful (we’d have a season), but there’s nothing we can do about it.”

— News-Review sports editor Tom Eggers contributed to this report

Donovan Brink can be reached at dbrink@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4219.

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