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The coronavirus pandemic has thrown curve balls and rainbow kicks at the state's high school baseball, softball and soccer programs.

All spring sports were suspended by the Arkansas Activities Association on Thursday because of worries associated with the spread of the virus. The decision will go into effect Sunday and last at least through March 30. At that point, the AAA will re-examine the situation and decide what the next steps will be.

Until then, high school teams will remain in wait-and-see modes, but it's the fear of the unknown -- both on the field and off -- that's bothersome.

"We just don't know because everything has pretty much been paused," Little Rock Parkview baseball Coach Jerry Bruce said. "We're all just respecting what the Arkansas Department of Education and the Little Rock School District is doing with the schools. We don't want to go against the grain because we completely understand why the decisions have been made.

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"Practice-wise, we certainly need it to keep the kids going, but we're gonna keep it how it is district-wide and wait until we get further instructions on what the next moves will be."

Bruce, who was a two-sport, all-state player at Watson Chapel in the early 2000s, is in his first season with the Patriots. The former University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff shortstop said he would love for it to be business as usual for a Patriots team that went 9-17 last season and finished seventh in the 5A-Central Conference with a 2-12 record.

However, desperate measures have forced his team to stop their progression for the time being.

"The guys are devastated, especially the seniors because they feel like they're being cheated out of some time in their last year," said Bruce, who had guided Parkview to a 3-1 record so far. "We've got a lot of dedicated players who spend a lot of time practicing on their own. Right now, they can't go to their own field and put some work in.

"But they certainly understand that we care more about their health and safety than them just playing baseball."

Springdale boys' soccer Coach Donald Beeler, who had the Class 6A champions sitting at 4-1 before the decision to suspend play was made, mentioned he isn't sure what lies ahead for his team.

"The situation is fluid and literally minute to minute at this point," he explained. "I don't get the sense it's going to be a choice by individual coaches, but that's just a hunch. I expect to know more over the weekend.

"Regardless, we just want to keep the kids safe and do our part to help resolve the issue."

Sports on 03/14/2020

Print Headline: Spring high school sports in wait mode

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