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High school baseball teams had expected to spend this week on various trips to play games in various tournaments, both inside and outside of the state's borders.

That will not happen now, thanks to the Arkansas Activities Association's suspension of all interscholastic activities through mid-April, followed by the AAA's decision last week to implement a two-week athletic "dead period," meaning teams can't practice and school facilities are closed.

"It makes for a crazy first year," said Rogers Heritage baseball Coach Brian Walker, whose team was scheduled to play in a tournament at Tulsa Union. "It is what it is. I told our players sometimes life isn't fair, and there are two things we can do about it. We can sit and complain, or we can press on and do what we can do.

"This stinks, but it's also out of our control. I just hope at some point we can play again."

Some of these teams could be losing more than bonding time with players and coaches and the games. These teams could be losing some of the money they earned to go to these trips.

One of the biggest losers in this situation is Springdale Har-Ber, which was one of three Northwest Arkansas teams scheduled to go to Arizona for the Coach Bob Pride Invitational -- a tournament that was later canceled. Har-Ber Coach Dustin Helmkamp said his team could lose as much as $17,000 if the airline doesn't refund the purchase of those tickets.

"It's a little worrisome," said Helmkamp, whose team was supposed to fly today from Tulsa to Phoenix and return Friday. "I don't know where we are at right now, but I think we will be OK. It wouldn't be good if we spent all that money and had nothing to show for it."

Rogers Coach Matt Melson said his team recovered all the money from its airline tickets, which were purchased through a travel agent. Both Rogers and Har-Ber did lose the money they paid for the tournament's registration fees, but they were promised a discounted entry fee if they choose to play again within the next five years.

Springdale chose to stay closer to home and was scheduled to play this weekend in Harrison and next week in Little Rock. Bulldogs Coach Scott Johnson said Harrison refunded his team for that tournament, but the hotel in Little Rock wanted to charge his team $1,500 as a cancellation fee.

"We had a lot of rooms reserved there," Johnson said. "But we went and talked to some people higher than that at the hotel. It doesn't look like we will lose that money after all."

Walker said he told those running the tournament at Tulsa Union, his former high school, to keep the entry fee for that tournament, and they would make it up at another time. That could come in the form of a game at Rogers Heritage, or the War Eagles could return to the tournament at a later date.

Bentonville West Coach Chip Durham said his team actually would save money by not making its scheduled trip to Memphis, which is considered a minor trip compared with teams going to Arizona.

Bentonville was scheduled to go to Gulf Shores, Ala., for its tournament but was refunded everything when the trip was canceled.

"The people we worked with, as far as hotels and transportation, were awesome," Tigers Coach Todd Abbott said. "There were no questions asked, and that was a massive break for us.

"This was terrible timing for everybody. I just hate it for our seniors because this could have been their last trip with their teammates."

Sports on 03/22/2020

Print Headline: Baseball teams deal with lost tourneys

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