WORTHINGTON -- The 2021 Minnesota West Community and Technical College baseball season started in a weird way, and it ended in a weird way.
It is officially over now, several weeks before it was supposed to be over. It ends under COVID-19 rules, as one player had to be quarantined and his roommates (four altogether were affected) then had to undergo quarantining until May 14. Because league teams will already be into the playoff season by then, there was no way the spring year could go on.
First-year head coach Zach Bakko began the season with only 11 players, which soon became 10. Despite the lack of depth, the energetic Bakko was enthusiastic at the way his team approached the early part of the season. But now?
“Everything we could have thought of, I tried,” he said, looking back on the end.
But there is no way the Bluejays could have continued, so the baseball equipment was promptly returned to the shed until next year.
“It would be hard to play with six, I’m told,” he explained, tongue in cheek.
Still, the always-optimistic Bakko is already working toward next year. He was in the Twin Cities on Monday, helping his mother with outdoor chores. But he continues to recruit incoming freshmen for 2022, texting players, emailing coaches and watching high school games when he can.
The 2021 players, he reports, “have a really good perspective on things. They realize it’s nobody’s fault. The guys have been truly about the team.”
Bakko says he’s already got a good group of players, from a wide area, expressing an interest in joining the team next year. Ironically, this year’s freshman class will retain their freshman eligibility, and since practically all 10 have indicated they want to return, there might be freshmen galore to work with next year.
“It’ll be a funny turnover in 2022,” said the coach.
Bakko also has plans in the works for hosting a summer camp.