Chargers’ baseball team motivated to return

With a single-minded focus and drive to uphold COVID-19 safety precautions while preparing for the 2021 baseball season, the daily schedules of Chargers baseball players are both intense and routine — practice, homework, rest and repeat.

Second baseman Palmer Sapp said that on Mondays and Wednesdays players attend online school, then practice from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays they practice from 8:15 a.m. to noon then hit the gym for an hour at 1:30 p.m.

Sapp said that the schedule doesn’t leave much free time and players need to take time to rest their bodies for upcoming practices and games.

“Coach does give us the opportunities for weekends off, so we can do our homework and have time to recover and are not always out there,” said Sapp.

Sapp said that COVID-19 precautions require players to arrive at practice fifteen minutes early for a temperature check. He also said that head coach, Dash O’Neill, runs a system check to monitor each player’s health. If a player were to have any symptoms of COVID-19, O’Neill would ask the player to be tested and not attend practice.

Each player’s equipment is also separated 10 feet from each other and they all encourage one another to socially distance during practice, said Sapp.

“We’re doing everything we can that allows us to practice and stay COVID safe,” said Sapp.

Sapp said the season cancellation last year was out of everyone’s hands and that it left the team very upset but more excited for the 2021 season.

“It’s going to be a great year for all of us. Not only to see what maybe would have happened last year, but to put Georgia Highlands on the national map,” said Sapp.

Third baseman Joe Sutton said that the team lost important key players but has no hesitation that this team can do great things.

“We were on our way to do something special and now this year I think there’s going to be no difference. We’re going to end up doing something special at the end of the year,” said Sutton.

Sutton said that the new players on the team really fit in well and help with team chemistry.

Sapp, along with teammates Gavin Harmon and Trace Twardoski faced eligibility issues in returning this year but are back and set to finish what last year’s team started.