Friday, March 13, was supposed to serve as both the home and Southeast Yosemite League opener for Tehachapi Warrior baseball. But instead, the field at the corner of Snyder and Anita sat silent.
That game against Independence, along with countless others across multiple sports, were postponed indefinitely as Tehachapi Unified School District suspended all athletics and non-essential gatherings in the wake of the COVID-19 virus precautions.
“The seniors are very disappointed, especially since one of them is an exchange student from Austria,” said Tehachapi varsity baseball head coach Chase Dominguez. “We have high expectations for this group of boys and were looking forward to winning league and go deep into the playoffs.”
The suspension of athletic activities includes baseball, softball, track and field, swimming, boy’s tennis and boy’s golf.
The decision was made official in a letter to parents from Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson on Thursday, March 12. That letter came shortly after the Kern High School District made a similar decision for spring sports. Tehachapi High is not part of KHSD, but the majority of its opponents are.
“Tehachapi Unified School District, in partnership with Kern County Public Health and other state and regional agencies, continue to closely monitor the novel coronavirus COVID-19,” Larson-Everson wrote in her letter. “As of today, TUSD will suspend all non-essential school activities such as athletic events, assemblies and field trips ... our main goal is to keep students and staff safe while focusing on student learning. Thank you for your continued patience, understanding and support.”
Additionally, following the cancellation of the CIF State Basketball Championships in Sacramento last weekend, the CIF is set to convene to discuss the future of the spring sports season and if and when it might continue.
According to a CIF news release, the 10 section commissioners and CIF state office are holding their annual spring meeting this week with the spring sports season the first matter set for discussion. While local districts have control over the scheduling and re-scheduling of regular-season contests, the sections and the CIF state office will discuss how recent school closures and school district’s postponement of their spring sports may impact postseason events.
“The CIF will continue to work with our schools and school districts with the health and well-being of student-athletes and school communities as our priority,” Ron Nocetti, CIF executive director, said in the news release.
For Tehachapi, it’s been quite some time since a suspension of this magnitude has impacted athletics. In 2001, the 9-11 terrorist attacks canceled several football and volleyball games nationwide. Tehachapi made up a few of those contests by adding opponents as time allowed. World War II also heavily impacted the 1943 football season with limited games and six-man contests due to a shortage of players and gasoline.
Dominguez says his baseball team will remain ready, especially with a group of players whose strength is pitching and defense.
“We hope that around April 14th we can resume baseball games and maybe get 10 league games in,” he said.