Chico State baseball and softball teams return to the diamond on a limited basis


Chico State Sports Information

Chico State softball 2020 team photo. Photo credits: Chico State Sports Information

With MLB season starting up, Chico State’s baseball and softball teams await their own return to playing games. 

The 2021 MLB season has begun and is set for the regular 162 game schedule and puts into question when Chico State baseball and softball teams will be able to play competitively again. Both teams have started to practice with limited capacity, giving a sense of hope and optimism. 

Both teams’ last game came over a year ago on March 8. Both teams won and had no idea it would be the last time they’d play a competitive game for the foreseeable future. 

“The last year has been tough just because the way our last season ended,” said first baseman Willie Lajoie. “We weren’t able to achieve our goals that we aspired for and worked so hard to achieve.” 

As of April 5, each team will be allowed two 90-minute sport skill instruction sessions per week via a small group referred to as “pods.” These 90-minute workouts include guided strength conditioning workouts and sport skill instruction for each team. This will take place over a five-week span. The NCAA is referring to this as “outside the playing season activity.” 

The Chico State softball team has enjoyed getting back on the field even in the limited capacity that is allowed. Players and coaches are happy and feel a sense of normalcy including head coach Angel Shamblin.

“It felt like home returning to our softball field and being around our team this week,” Shamblin said. “We are looking forward to the rest of the spring practices to prepare us to return to competition next academic year.”

Chico State baseball 2020 team photo. Photo credits: Chico State Sports Information

For the baseball team, head coach Dave Taylor is focusing more on easing back into things and just letting his players get out and throw and hit the ball round. 

“Our main objective is letting our guys get out and have some fun and hopefully get them back into somewhat competitive situations towards the end of the five weeks,” Taylor said. 

Chico State sports teams are not allowed to hold full team practices, only two 90-minute  pod workouts. This includes the baseball and softball team, and all other to Chico State NCAA-sanctioned sports as well. The NCAA isn’t allowing any competitions which include intersquads or scrimmages.

“I’m happy for my guys to be able to get out and do the things they like,” Taylor said. “They’ve waited a long time so I’m happy for them.”

As of now, the NCAA hasn’t announced when we could see Division II athletics return. The plan is to have a season in the spring of 2022 for the baseball and softball teams. 

Staying optimistic in challenging times like these have been tough, but the mindset of players on the baseball team excites them about getting back on the field once again.

“I can say from all of my teammates how excited we are to get back to working towards our new goals for next season,” Lajoie said. “We have a really good group of guys and I think we’re going to be able to accomplish some incredible things in the 2022 season.”

Jacob Milligan can be found at @[email protected] or @champ_milly8 on Twitter.